US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Israel by the end of January for talks with the new government amid tension over the Temple Mount, Israeli sanctions against the Palestinian Authority, and Iran.
News of the visit was revealed on Monday by Yediot Aharonot. Blinken has visited Israel several times since taking office in 2021. He forged a close relationship with former prime minister Yair Lapid.
Blinken’s visit will come on the heels of a scheduled trip to the region by President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who is expected to arrive in Jerusalem in the coming weeks for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Council chief Tzachi Hanegbi.
Blinken condemns Ben-Gvir's Temple Mount visit
Blinken and the State Department condemned the visit last week of National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to the Temple Mount.
He wrote on Twitter that he discussed the visit with Jordan’s foreign minister and that he “expressed support for preserving the historic status quo at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount compound. Our strategic partnership remains vital to a more integrated, stable and prosperous region.”
Last month, Blinken told reporters in Washington that the US would judge the Israeli government by its policies, not its personalities.
“We will engage with and judge our partners in Israel on the basis of the policies they pursue, not the personalities that happen to form the government,” Blinken said as he addressed concerns about how a center-left US government would work with the far-right coalition that Netanyahu has established.