US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pulled no punches Monday at a news briefing with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, bluntly expressing the enduring view of the Biden Administration that despite the murder of seven Israelis outside a synagogue this past weekend, and the plethora of other terror attacks on Israelis before and since, and despite Israel’s progress integrating into the region with its neighboring Arab nations,
“These efforts are not a substitute for progress between Israelis and Palestinians.”
The two men met for more than an hour Monday afternoon in Jerusalem on the first day of Blinken’s two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, prior to issuing joint statements to the media. They took no questions and left immediately following the briefing.
“It’s the responsibility of everyone to take steps to calm tensions rather than inflame them,” Blinken told reporters upon his arrival in Israel. “That is the only way to halt the rising tide of violence that has taken too many lives, too many Israelis, too many Palestinians.”
Blinken arrived mid-afternoon from Cairo, where he spent the first day of his visit to the region meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and other regime officials.
The Secretary is scheduled to meet with President Isaac Herzog on Monday evening. He will travel on Tuesday to the Palestinian Authority capital city of Ramallah to meet with PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and other government officials.