US to reopen Jerusalem consulate, upgrade Palestinian ties:
On his first official visit to the area, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli and Palestinian officials on Tuesday, with the immediate goal of reinforcing the cease-fire reached last week. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced plans to restore a key diplomatic outreach office to Palestinians and committed roughly $40 million in fresh funding, reversing major Trump administration regulations as he moves to support the West Bank's ailing Palestinian Authority. On his first official visit to the area, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli and Palestinian officials on Tuesday, with the immediate goal of reinforcing the cease-fire reached last week. Blinken spoke with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on his first official visit to the area, with the immediate goal of bolstering last week's cease-fire, which ended 11 days of violence between Israel and Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. He promised to "mobilise international support" for the campaign while simultaneously ensuring that no aid would reach Hamas. Blinken constantly alluded to the conflict's fundamental difficulties and voiced empathy for all sides, but he showed little appetite in beginning a new US drive for lasting peace, presumably since prior efforts by prior administrations have all failed. Instead, he voiced optimism for a "better climate" that may lead to peace discussions in the future. Despite these modest goals, Blinken stated that President Joe Biden will take a more balanced approach to the region than his predecessor, Donald Trump, who backed decisively with Israel in practically every dispute with the Palestinians. In a very significant move, Blinken said that the US will restore its Jerusalem consulate, which has acted as the Palestinians' de facto embassy for years.