In the wake of the slaughter perpetrated by Hamas against Israel, Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to the Middle East. He began his trip in Israel and then traveled to Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. “We came with four objectives,” he said:
“To make clear that the United States stands with Israel; to prevent the conflict from spreading to other places; to work on securing the release of hostages, including American citizens; and to address the humanitarian crisis that exists in Gaza.”
“There are two very different visions for the future and what the Middle East can and should be,” said Secretary Blinken:
“There’s a vision that we very strongly espouse that has countries in the region normalizing their relations, integrating, working together in common purpose, and upholding and bringing forth the rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people.”
“There’s another vision that Hamas has demonstrated in the most horrific way, and that’s a vision of death, of destruction, of nihilism, of terrorism,” said Secretary Blinken:
“That’s a vision that does nothing to advance aspirations for Palestinians, that does nothing to help create better futures for people in the region, and does everything to bring total darkness to everyone that it’s able to affect ... And I have no doubt what path the overwhelming majority of people in the region will choose and will prefer if given the opportunity.”
Secretary Blinken said, “Civilians should not have to suffer for Hamas’s atrocities. We are now very actively engaged with countries in the region, with the United Nations, with Israel, to make sure, to the best of our ability, that people can get out of harm’s way and that the assistance they need – the food, water, medicine – can get in.” In order to do that, Rafah, the southernmost point of exit from Gaza into Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, “will be reopened,” said Secretary Blinken.
“This is a difficult and a challenging time,” said Secretary Blinken, “but there’s a determination ... to get through it, and to do that together.”