Blinken to arrive in Israel to offer Hezbollah offramp

Washington's top diplomat heads to Israel aiming to stop war from spilling over north and plan Gaza's future; US expects Israel to distance itself from calls for migration of Gazans

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will arrive in Israel on Monday evening for his fifth visit since the outbreak of the war.
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok >>
More stories:
His primary goal is to ensure Israel transitions to a less intense phase in the Gaza war - a step already underway, at least in the northern Strip.
3 View gallery
אנתוני בלינקן, חסן נסראללה
אנתוני בלינקן, חסן נסראללה
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah
(Photo: SAUL LOEB / POOL / AFP, from X)
Blinken also aims to cease hostilities in the north and subsequently initiate negotiations for a political arrangement to distance Hezbollah from the border and facilitate the return of residents home.
Israel has already effectively begun what is referred to as "the third phase" of the war. The IDF is conducting limited brigade-level raids on Hamas targets in the northern Gaza Strip after announcing the dismantling of Hamas’ military capabilities there and the defeat of its brigades.
Although Israel has started this phase, it hasn't officially announced it. The Americans, on their part, want Israel to do so publicly, which would give Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah an offramp and de-escalate the situation, which would pave the way to the plan of Biden envoy Amos Hochstein, who visited Israel over the weekend.
The Biden administration has consistently signaled its opposition to the war extending northward, a key focus of Blinken's visit. During a visit to Greece Saturday, he affirmed, "It's clear that Israel is not interested in escalation, but it must defend itself."
3 View gallery
תיעוד לבנוני מתקיפות בגבול ישראל-לבנון
תיעוד לבנוני מתקיפות בגבול ישראל-לבנון
IDF strikes in southern Lebanon
Blinken is advocating for expanded and varied humanitarian aid to Gaza in addition to addressing war-related issues. Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, on her fourth visit to Israel since the war began, echoed this sentiment. Both diplomats are committed to securing impactful humanitarian relief for Gaza, reflecting a widespread concern within the international community.
Blinken's visit focuses on post-war Gaza, seeking Israel's strategy for governance, security and civil management, as well as funding and other concerns.
According to Reuters, he's also pressing moderate Arab nations to engage in Gaza's post-war process and is collecting their viewpoints on Gaza's future to present to Israel.
Recent discussions between Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and the head of the Southern Command have focused on post-war strategies and the Palestinian Authority's potential role in a reformed capacity for Gaza's reconstruction.
3 View gallery
תיעודים ממטען שאותר במרפאה בשכונת שג'עאיה ופעילות כוחות צה"ל ברצועת עזה
תיעודים ממטען שאותר במרפאה בשכונת שג'עאיה ופעילות כוחות צה"ל ברצועת עזה
IDF troops operating in Gaza's Shijaiyah
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
The U.S. is expected to urge Israel to publicly reject proposals for the voluntary migration of Gaza residents, as the IDF maintains security in the Strip and regulates the movement of residents from south to north.
President Isaac Herzog told NBC in an interview Sunday that calls for Gaza residents' voluntary migration are not official Israeli policy. He emphasized Israel's democratic nature, where a diversity of ideas is expected and freedom of expression is integral to the national ethos. In a 30-minister cabinet, separate from the security cabinet, each minister is free to voice individual opinions.
Blinken's itinerary starts with a late Monday evening arrival, with official meetings in Israel beginning Tuesday. He's slated to meet President Herzog, Foreign Minister Israel Katz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, members of the war cabinet, Defense Minister Gallant, Minister Benny Gantz, heads of Shin Bet and Mossad and families of hostages. He'll host a press conference on Tuesday evening and meet with Opposition Leader Yair Lapid on Wednesday before leaving the Middle East.
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.