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Secretary Blinken’s Middle East Visit Prioritizes Push for Gaza Ceasefire

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to travel to the Middle East this week with the aim of brokering a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas and securing the release of hostages held by the Palestinian militant group. During his visit to the Philippines, Blinken announced that his upcoming meetings with senior leaders in Saudi Arabia and Egypt would focus on establishing a framework for lasting regional peace.

Among the key topics to be discussed with Saudi and Egyptian officials are increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza and planning for the post-war recovery of the enclave. Blinken emphasized the urgent need for humanitarian assistance in Gaza, where the entire population is in dire need. He stressed Israel’s responsibility to prioritize assistance for those facing desperate conditions.

The Integrated Food-Security Phase Classification has warned of extreme food shortages in parts of Gaza, surpassing famine levels, and highlighted the imminent threat of mass casualties without an immediate ceasefire and increased food supplies to areas affected by the conflict. Blinken also underscored the importance of Israel developing a plan for Gaza’s reconstruction once the conflict ends, while acknowledging Israel’s need to defend itself and prevent future incidents like Oct. 7.

Responding to global pressure to address hunger in Gaza, Israel has pledged to deliver humanitarian aid through various entry points into the Gaza Strip.