Secretary of State Blinken Holds Meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

US top diplomat Blinken made an unannounced visit to the West Bank on Sunday and met with Palestinian Authority President Abbas. They met in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Blinken’s second visit to the region since Hamas terrorists attacked southern Israel on October 7th. Israel continued its campaign of air strikes and ground offensives, leading to nearly 9,500 Palestinian deaths. Blinken rebuffed calls for a ceasefire from Arab officials and is trying to ensure that the conflict does not spread in the region. He is also trying to kickstart discussions on how Gaza could be governed after the complete destruction of Hamas, which Israel aims for. Abbas told Blinken there should be an immediate ceasefire and that aid should be allowed into Gaza. Blinken expressed the US commitment to getting aid into Gaza and restoring essential services there. He suggested that an “effective and revitalized Palestinian Authority” would make the most sense to ultimately run the Gaza Strip. The foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan called for an immediate ceasefire to address the humanitarian crisis that has engulfed the Strip’s 2.3 million residents. Blinken argued that a ceasefire would only allow Hamas to regroup, but is trying to convince Israel to agree to location-specific pauses that would allow much-needed aid to be distributed within Gaza. Violence in the West Bank has surged further since the war began, with more than 170 attacks on Palestinians involving Jewish settlers recorded by the United Nations. Blinken and Abbas “discussed efforts to restore calm and stability in the West Bank, including the need to stop extremist violence against Palestinians and hold those accountable responsible.” On his visit, Blinken met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Muqata in Ramallah, November 5, 2023.