RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken brought his frenetic Mideast diplomatic push on the Israel-Hamas war to the occupied West Bank on Sunday, meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in his latest bid to ease civilian suffering in the Gaza Strip and begin to sketch out a post-conflict scenario for the territory.
Blinken traveled to Ramallah for his previously unannounced visit in an armored motorcade and under tight security just hours after Israeli warplanes struck a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens, health officials said. Despite the secrecy and the State Department refusing to confirm the trip until after Blinken had physically left the West Bank, protests erupted against his visit and U.S. support for israel as word of his arrival leaked.
Aside from pleasantries, neither man spoke as they greeted each other in front of cameras and the meeting ended without any public comment. It was not immediately clear if the lack of words indicated the meeting had gone poorly.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Blinken reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance and resumption of essential services in Gaza and made clear that Palestinians must not be forcibly displaced.
Blinken and Abbas discussed efforts to restore calm and stability in the West Bank, including the need to stop…