October 12, 2023 | Flash Brief

Secretary of State Blinken Arrives in Israel

October 12, 2023 | Flash Brief

Secretary of State Blinken Arrives in Israel

Latest Developments

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel on October 12, the first leg of a tour of the region in the wake of Hamas’ attack on Israel, which killed 22 Americans. Blinken will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior officials to discuss the fate of American hostages being held in Gaza, among other topics. Blinken will also travel to Jordan and meet with King Abdullah and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Blinken told media before he left Washington that the message he will be delivering in Israel is that the United States “has Israel’s back.”

Expert Analysis

“The resounding support from President Biden, Secretary Blinken, and other foreign leaders has bolstered the people of Israel, who are facing one of the most difficult chapters in the history of the state. With a strong unity government in Jerusalem and steadfast U.S. and international support, the people of Israel are well equipped to tackle the threats they face.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“The matter of the hostages’ return is intricate. Aside from the undisclosed number of captives held by Hamas, there are indications that several other terrorist groups are also holding hostages and victims’ remains from the attack. The challenge ahead is to coordinate and persuade all of these armed groups to mutually release the captives, making the objective a formidable task.” — Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Netanyahu, Gantz Agree to Form Unity Government

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a “national emergency government” on the night of October 11, bringing rival parliamentary groups together to face the challenges of the days ahead. The new unity government includes Benny Gantz’s National Unity party. Under the terms of the agreement, Gantz will join Netanyahu and Israel’s Defense Minister and Likud member Yoav Gallant in a war cabinet, and an additional four members of Gantz’s party will join the government’s security cabinet for the duration of the war.

Death Toll Rises to 1,300

On day six of Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, Israel is still discovering bodies in the Gaza periphery and the death toll climbed today to 1,300. Meanwhile, Israel’s Gaza offensive is ongoing. Today, at least four Israelis were injured from a rocket attack in Sderot as sirens continued to blare in the south of Israel.

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