Change of Perception? Blinken Rushes to Occupied West Bank, Seeks Palestinians' Safety

Meeting with Palestinian President Abbas sparks discussion on comprehensive solution

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a surprise visit to the Is, Iraeli-occupied West Bank on Sunday, Nov 5, in a highly secure arrangement and met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas. This marked his first visit to Palestinian territory since the outbreak of conflict following the Hamas terror attack on October 7.

During the meeting, Blinken emphasized the importance of ensuring that Gazans should not face forced displacement. The US State Department released a summary stating, "The Secretary reaffirmed the United States' commitment to delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance and resuming essential services in Gaza and stressed that Palestinians must not be forcibly displaced."

Antony Blinken

As per the Hamas-run health ministry, Israel's retaliatory attacks have resulted in approximately 9,800 casualties, predominantly civilians. President Abbas, in his discussions with Blinken, referred to Israel's counter-offensive as "genocide," as reported by the news agency AFP, citing the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

"I have no words to describe the genocide and destruction suffered by our Palestinian people in Gaza at the hands of Israel's war machine, with no regard for the principles of international law," Abbas stated during the meeting.

Moreover, Abbas highlighted the possibility of the Palestinian Authority reclaiming authority in the Gaza Strip if a "comprehensive political solution" can be established to resolve the long-standing conflict. "We will fully assume our responsibilities within the framework of a comprehensive political solution that includes all of the West Bank, including east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip," Abbas informed Blinken, as reported by the news agency Wafa.

Blinken and Abbas

Blinken's unanticipated visit occurred amid a surge in violence in the West Bank following the conflict between Israel and Hamas. The discussion between Blinken and Abbas centered on efforts to restore peace and stability in the West Bank, emphasizing the need to halt extremist violence against Palestinians and hold the accountable parties responsible, according to the State Department.

The State Department's statement highlighted that "Secretary Blinken reiterated the United States' commitment to advancing equal measures of dignity and security for Palestinians and Israelis alike." During Blinken's recent Middle East visit, he advocated for "humanitarian pauses" in Gaza to safeguard civilians and facilitate the distribution of aid.