US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrived in Israel on Tuesday on the first stop in his first Middle East tour since taking office.
Blinken is also scheduled to visit Palestine, Egypt, and Jordan.
The top US diplomat is expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today at his office in West Jerusalem, according to the State Department.
“Secretary Blinken is undertaking this trip at the request of President Biden. He will first travel to Jerusalem, where he will meet with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, and other senior Israeli officials,” Ned Price, the spokesperson for the US State Department, said in a statement.
He pointed that Blinken will later proceed to Ramallah where “he will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, and other senior officials from the Palestinian Authority,” before moving on to visit Cairo and Amman.
In a follow up statement on his Twitter account, Price said Blinken looks forward to “productive meetings in Jerusalem and Ramallah as we seek to build on the cease-fire, discuss relief efforts, and lay the groundwork for brighter futures for Israelis and Palestinians.”
Earlier, Blinken said in a Twitter post that his visit to Jerusalem will focus on the “road ahead” following the recent cease-fire agreement between Israel and Palestinian factions and will seek “to build a better future for Israelis and Palestinians.”
At least 284 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by the Israeli army since April against the backdrop of an Israeli court verdict to evict Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem.
Thirteen Israelis were also killed in Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. The fighting, the fiercest in years, came to a halt on Friday under an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire.