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Antony Blinken at a press conference on May 21. Photo: Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to the Middle East to meet with Israeli leaders this week as part of the Biden administration's attempt to solidify the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the White House confirmed Monday.

Why it matters: Biden's strategy to deal with the crisis — which left nearly 250 Palestinians dead over 11 days of fighting — is intense but quiet diplomacy with Israel and Egypt. The current ceasefire held over the weekend.

Details: Blinken will visit to Jerusalem, Ramallah, Cairo, and Amman, he wrote in a tweet.

  • "He will continue our Administration’s efforts to rebuild ties to, and support for, the Palestinian people and leaders, after years of neglect," the White House wrote in a news release.
  • "And he will engage other key partners in the region, including on the coordinated international effort to ensure immediate assistance reaches Gaza in a way that benefits the people there and not Hamas."

Go deeper

Aug 28, 2021 - World

Israeli PM tells Biden he won't publicly campaign against Iran deal

President Biden greets Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the White House on Aug. 27. Photo: GPO/ Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told President Biden in their meeting on Friday at the White House that although he is against a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, he isn’t going to publicly campaign against it like his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, two U.S. sources briefed on the meeting told Axios.

Why it matters: Biden and his senior advisers are veterans of the intense confrontations between Netanyahu and former President Obama on Iran.

Aug 29, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Former Israel ambassador joins U.S. Iran team

Dan Shapiro. Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro has joined the State Department's Iran team as a senior adviser, a senior State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: Israel is pressing the Biden administration to start discussing a “Plan B” in case diplomacy with Iran fails. Shapiro, who has a personal relationship with many Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, is equipped to play a key role in any such talks. His portfolio will be the regional aspects of the Iranian issue and coordination with Israel.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.