Europe 1 with AFP // Photo credit: CELAL GUNES / ANADOLU AGENCY / ANADOLU AGENCY VIA AFP 22:47 p.m., November 27, 2023

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit the Middle East for the third time since the start of the Hamas attack on October 7. He will stress the need to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Gaza, secure the release of hostages and improve the protection of civilians.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel again to Israel and the West Bank by the weekend, as well as Dubai, a senior State Department official told reporters Monday. This will be the third visit by the top US diplomat to the Middle East since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began on 7 October.

Advocating for the creation of a Palestinian state

"During his meetings in the Middle East, he will stress the need to continue to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza, to ensure the release of all hostages and to improve the protection of civilians in Gaza," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Antony Blinken will also again plead for the creation of an independent Palestinian state as the only long-term solution and will discuss efforts to "contain the conflict", according to the same source.

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Blinken, who began a tour of Europe on Monday, is scheduled to travel to Tel Aviv to meet with Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and then to Ramallah for talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to the senior official. No specific date was given, but Blinken's trip to Israel is expected to take place on Thursday after attending a NATO meeting in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday and an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) meeting in the Macedonian capital Skopje on Wednesday.

Shortly after the start of the war triggered by Hamas' unprecedented attack on Israeli soil, Antony Blinken made a marathon tour of the region, shuttling back and forth between Israel and Jordan several times and visiting several other Arab countries. He made another trip to the region earlier this month, going to Ramallah for the first time since the beginning of the conflict. On Friday, he will travel to Dubai to continue talks to avoid any escalation of the conflict, the U.S. official said. Many officials will be present for the start of the COP28 climate summit.