In a diplomatic effort to bring peace and humanitarian relief to the Middle East, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is embarking on a crucial mission during his visit to Israel on November 3.
Blinken is set to propose a series of strategic military operation pauses in the Gaza Strip. These pauses aim to create a conducive environment for prisoner releases and the delivery of essential humanitarian aid, as reported by The New York Times.
Blink en’s Diplomatic Journey
The US State Department has disclosed that Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to embark on an extensive foreign tour from November 2 to November 10. During this tour, he plans to visit several countries, including Israel, Jordan, Japan, South Korea, and India. However, the primary focus of his visit to Israel will be to advocate for “humanitarian pauses” in the ongoing conflict.
The Quest for Humanitarian Pauses
According to insider sources, Blinken will strongly advocate for humanitarian pauses in the ongoing conflict when he arrives in Israel. The White House has clarified that these pauses are proposed within specific time and geographical boundaries. Notably, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed openness to the idea of humanitarian pauses, making this diplomatic endeavor all the more promising.
Escalation of Conflict and Humanitarian Crisis
The current conflict in the Gaza Strip escalated on October 7 when it witnessed an unprecedented-scale rocket attack initiated by the military wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement, known as Operation Al-Aqsa Flood. Subsequently, Hamas fighters breached border areas in southern Israel, prompting the Israel Defense Forces to launch Operation Iron Swords against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Within a matter of days, the Israeli military gained control over all populated areas near the Gaza border and initiated airstrikes, including those affecting civilians within the strip. Moreover, Israel imposed a complete blockade on the Gaza Strip, leading to a halt in the supply of water, food, electricity, medicine, and fuel.
The humanitarian toll of this protracted conflict has been devastating. In the Gaza Strip, the number of casualties has exceeded 9,000 people, with over 32,000 individuals sustaining injuries. In Israel, according to local authorities, more than 1,300 people have lost their lives.
The Russian Embassy has reported that during the conflict’s escalation, 20 Russians were killed, two were taken hostage, and seven were listed as missing. Various sources estimate that about 150 Israelis may be held captive by Hamas, with the movement itself stating that approximately 200-250 prisoners are in the Gaza Strip.
International Calls for Ceasefire
The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a call for both parties involved to cease hostilities. Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed a firm stance on the Middle East crisis, emphasizing that a solution can only be achieved through a “two-state” formula approved by the UN Security Council. This formula envisions the creation of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with its capital in East Jerusalem.
The Ongoing Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict, rooted in territorial disputes and historical tensions, has been a persistent source of unrest and violence in the region for decades. A landmark UN decision in 1947, supported by the USSR, called for the creation of two states, Israel and Palestine, but only the former was established.
This diplomatic mission by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stands as a critical endeavor to address the ongoing crisis, promote peace, and bring much-needed humanitarian relief to the affected regions.