US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to visit Egypt on Sunday, before meeting top Israeli officials on Monday, to discuss regional issues including the escalating violence in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.He arrives in the aftermath of three days of violence. This included a shooting terror attack against a synagogue in Jerusalem that killed seven, rockets from Gaza and an IDF raid in Jenin to rout out terror cells, in which nine Palestinians were killed including two Palestinian civilians.Ahead of his trip to the region, Blinken spoke in recent days with Jewish leaders and with American-Palestinian leaders to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at a time when relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have broken down to such an extent that the PA suspended its security cooperation with the IDF.The conversation with Jewish leaders also included concerns about Iran and the new government’s judicial overhaul, which many fear will weaken Israel’s democracy.
"An atypically delicate mission"
“What was a delicate task has now become even harder: Violence has already intensified considerably in the past few days in the West Bank and in Jerusalem with bloody consequences,” said Sachs. “Blinken will have to prioritize his substantive warnings over his and the president’s preferred diplomatic tone.”Blinken tweeted, “I met this week with Jewish and Palestinian-American community leaders to hear their important perspectives ahead of my travel to Israel and the West Bank,” adding that “I appreciated our useful discussions.”The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations released a statement following its meeting with the Secretary of State, saying that it was a “productive exchange of ideas and perspectives.”“Secretary Blinken is the twentieth Secretary of State with whom the Conference of Presidents has met, starting with John Foster Dulles (1956), whose suggestion was the impetus for our founding,” the umbrella group noted.
“What was a delicate task has now become even harder: Violence has already intensified considerably in the past few days in the West Bank and in Jerusalem with bloody consequences Blinken will have to prioritize his substantive warnings over his and the president’s preferred diplomatic tone.”Natan Sachs, director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Institute
“We are grateful for the fruitful conversation that took place and the consensus that exists on important issues, particularly strengthening the already considerable ties between the US and Israel, monitoring and combating antisemitism in its many manifestations, and countering the nuclear and terrorist threats posed by Iran,” the statement reads.They also went on to say that the Conference of Presidents “works to amplify the voice of the entire spectrum of the Jewish community on these issues and others. Through meetings such as today’s, we are able to effectively convey our perspectives and recommendations to key decision-makers.”“We thank Secretary [of state] Blinken for convening this discussion, as well as for his leadership in strengthening the US-Israel relationship, fighting antisemitism, and protecting the safety and security of Jewish communities around the world,” said the organization.Blinken will meet in Cairo with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. In Jerusalem, he will speak with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen as well as other top officials, as well as a Ramallah meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.