“Secretary Blinken will travel to Israel on Friday for meetings with members of the Israeli government, and then will make other stops in the region,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said, without further details.
The White House said later that Biden had spoken Tuesday with the leader of key US partner Jordan, where Blinken has visited multiple times since Hamas launched its October 7 attack on Israel.
Biden and King Abdullah II “discussed urgent mechanisms to stem violence, calm rhetoric, and reduce regional tensions,” a White House statement said.
It added that the two leaders “agreed that it is critical to ensure that Palestinians are not forcibly displaced outside of Gaza” and that Biden had “confirmed unwavering US support for Jordan and His Majesty’s leadership.”
The shock cross-border attack by Hamas militants killed more than 1,400 people according to Israeli officials, while more than 230 people — some American citizens — were taken hostage.
Israel’s retaliatory bombardment has killed more than 8,500 people, according to the Gaza health ministry, sparking widespread anger in the region and stoking fears that Gazan refugees may spill across the border into Egypt as refugees.
Days after the surprise attack by Hamas militants, Blinken traveled to Israel as a show of US support and to coordinate on a response.
A marathon session of shuttle diplomacy in the region ensued, with the US diplomat making over a dozen stops in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and back in Israel.
He accompanied Biden to meetings with Israeli government officials and victims during the US leader’s one-day visit to Tel Aviv on October 18.
The United States is Israel’s biggest supporter, providing it with substantial military aid.
Blinken on Tuesday also spoke with Israeli President Isaac Herzog to reiterate US support for Israel’s right to defend itself and to call on the nation “to take feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians,” the State Department’s Miller said in a separate statement.
Biden has requested Congress to pass additional funding for Israel as well as Ukraine.
Blinken on Tuesday was at the US Capitol to defend the funding request, but the Senate hearing was repeatedly interrupted by pro-Palestinian protesters, some of whom cried out “Ceasefire now,” “Palestinians are not animals” and “Shame on you all” before being removed from the room.
During the hearing Blinken also discussed what might come after the current conflict, saying the Palestinian Authority should retake control of the Gaza Strip from Hamas, which has ruled the territory since 2007.