US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel early Thursday morning for his fourth visit since the start of the Shabbat Simchat Torah war launched by Hamas against Israel on October 7.
Blinken told reporters that he also intends to travel to the Palestinian Authority, where he is expected to meet with PA and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Numerous ministers in the Ramallah cabinet led by Abbas have expressed their strong support for the October 7 war launched by Hamas.
The Palestinian Authority government in Ramallah has already promised to provide lifetime monthly payments for each Hamas terrorist and/or his family (if he died during the attack), in accordance with the government’s “pay for slay” policy.
The Palestinian Authority will be rewarding the Hamas terrorists and their families with $2,807,000 – already this month. The PA has not only expressed support for the Hamas terror attacks, but under PA law it will be rewarding the terrorists.
— Pal Media Watch (@palwatch) October 15, 2023
Terrorists from multiple factions in Gaza and civilians from the enclave led by Hamas abducted 240 Israelis, dual nationals and foreign workers during their murderous rampage in the Israeli kibbutzim and other communities along the Gaza border. The invaders slaughtered more than 1,200 people, torturing, raping, beheading and burning many alive before killing them. At least 4,100 other Israelis were wounded in the attack.
The bodies of some 1,500 Hamas terrorists were found after the massacre.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday following a NATO meeting in Brussels, Blinken said he plans to work on extending the current temporary ceasefire (“hudna”) between Israel and Hamas to allow for further release of hostages abducted by the terrorist organization.
Blinken also said the hudna would allow for the entry of more humanitarian aid into Gaza. “Clearly, that’s something we want. I believe it’s also something that Israel wants,” he said, without noting that such aid was being delivered into Gaza well before the start of the ceasefire.
The Secretary added that he also planned to discuss the future of Gaza on “the day after” the war ends, and to once again pressure Israel into accepted a “two-state solution” that would create another Palestinian Authority terrorist state on Israel’s borders.
The United States, Qatar and Egypt have been pressuring Israel during talks in Doha to move to a permanent ceasefire – something which the entire nation of Israel rejects. The three goals of the current military campaign launched by Israel, as repeatedly stated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, are to eliminate the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza, retrieve all the hostages abducted by the invaders and to ensure there will no longer be any threat to the State of Israel present in the enclave.
Under no circumstances will Israel consider a permanent ceasefire with Hamas, Israeli ministers and negotiators have emphasized.
Shortly before midnight Wednesday night, 16 hostages reached Israeli territory after their late-night release by the Gaza terrorists. Among the freed captives were four Thai citizens, two Russian-Israeli citizens, and one dual US-Israeli citizen. Liat Beinin, a high school teacher and a guide at the Yad Vashem Memorial Museum in Jerusalem, holds both US and Israeli citizenship. Her husband is still being held hostage in Gaza.
At the very last moment before Israeli military action was set to resume on Thursday morning, Hamas submitted a list of additional Israeli women and children to be released in an additional three-for-one swap for terrorists on Thursday night. The move effectively arrested the resumption of IDF ground operations, for now.
During the six days since the hudna began last Friday, 97 kidnapped civilians were released from the among the hostages being held by Hamas and other terror groups, including 73 Israelis, 23 Thai citizens and 1 Philippine national. Approximately 145 hostages are believed to still be in captivity.
In exchange, Israel released three Palestinian Authority female and “teenage” terrorists from prison for each one of the hostages. Most were serving time for attempting to kill Israelis.