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Egypt’s President Expresses Disapproval of Israel’s Actions in Gaza as U.S. Secretary of State Continues Middle Eastern Diplomacy

by Ryan Lee
7 comments
U.S.-Middle East Diplomacy

On Sunday, the President of Egypt rebuked Israel for its military operations in the Gaza Strip, offering a pointed counter to the United States. This came as the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, was engaged in diplomatic meetings throughout the Middle East, aiming to avert the escalation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas into a more extensive regional issue.

With the prospect of an Israeli ground invasion in Gaza increasing, Blinken stated unambiguously that the U.S. would steadfastly support Israel in its “present, future, and continual” endeavors, grounded in their mutual democratic principles. However, he insisted that Israel must exercise the utmost care to minimize civilian casualties. He refrained from directly criticizing Israel or its airstrike campaign, which has resulted in civilian deaths in Gaza.

Speaking from Cairo, where Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi voiced his concerns, Blinken then proceeded to Jordan. He is scheduled to return to Israel on Monday to convey the insights he gathered from rapid consultations with regional leaders.

His impending second visit to Israel unfolds amid increasing apprehensions that an Israeli incursion into Gaza could ignite a larger conflict with severe humanitarian ramifications. This situation is becoming a focal point for the Biden administration.

Egypt’s state-controlled media reported that el-Sissi told Blinken Israel’s actions in Gaza had surpassed “the right of self-defense,” and had become “a form of collective punishment.”

Before departing from Egypt, Blinken acknowledged Israel’s “right and responsibility” to defend itself from Hamas attacks but emphasized the manner in which Israel conducted this defense was crucial. Blinken highlighted that actions must be in alignment with “the shared values we hold regarding human life and dignity, taking all possible steps to prevent civilian harm.”

Earlier on Sunday, the U.S. diplomat held talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh. These discussions expanded on previous consultations with the heads of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority.

According to Blinken, the common theme in his dialogues with Arab leaders was an unwavering commitment to averting the spread of conflict, safeguarding innocent lives, and delivering aid to the Palestinians in Gaza.

The White House announced the appointment of David Satterfield, a former U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon and Turkey, to spearhead American humanitarian assistance efforts in the Middle East. Satterfield is expected to arrive in Israel on Monday.

Meanwhile, from the U.S. capital, Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser, declared that the U.S. was neither dictating nor demanding specific military actions from Israel. He emphasized that the United States adhered to fundamental principles that respected civilian life.

Sullivan indicated a change in tone from the U.S. administration, which had increasingly heard from Arab leaders about the potential humanitarian and political fallout of an Israeli ground invasion in Gaza.

He also acknowledged difficulties in facilitating the exit of American citizens from Gaza via Egypt’s Rafah crossing, which had been closed due to early war airstrikes.

U.S. authorities noted that the general Arab response to Blinken’s messages has been largely positive, although there was intense concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the Palestinian civilian casualties.

Blinken, while in Egypt, reaffirmed that U.S. support for Israel would remain steadfast, emphasizing, “We stand with Israel today, tomorrow, and every day, both in word and deed.”

During his approximately hour-long meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed in Saudi Arabia, the two leaders “affirmed their mutual commitment to safeguarding civilians and promoting stability in the Middle East and beyond,” as per a State Department statement.

Saudi Arabia emphasized the importance of protecting Palestinian civilians and expressed its opposition to any actions that would “target civilians or disrupt infrastructure crucial for daily life,” according to a statement from the Saudi Press Agency.


Contributions to this report were made by Big Big News correspondents Sam Magdy in Cairo, Collen Long in Washington D.C., and Michelle L. Price in New York.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about U.S.-Middle East Diplomacy

What is the central issue being discussed in the article?

The article discusses the complex diplomatic efforts led by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the Middle East, particularly focusing on the conflict between Israel and Gaza. It also covers the perspectives of Egypt and other Arab nations on the conflict and the U.S. stance.

Who are the key players mentioned?

The key players mentioned are U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan.

What was Egypt’s stance on Israel’s operations in Gaza?

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi criticized Israel’s military operations in Gaza, stating that they have exceeded the “right of self-defense” and have become a form of “collective punishment.”

What did Antony Blinken say about the U.S.’s relationship with Israel?

Antony Blinken reaffirmed the United States’ unwavering support for Israel, emphasizing that the U.S. stands with Israel “today, tomorrow, and every day” in a partnership based on shared democratic values.

What are the humanitarian concerns mentioned?

The humanitarian concerns center around the potential for an Israeli ground invasion in Gaza to spark a larger conflict with severe humanitarian consequences, including civilian casualties. There are also concerns about American citizens being unable to exit Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah crossing.

How did Arab leaders respond to Antony Blinken’s messages?

Arab leaders generally responded positively to Blinken’s diplomatic efforts, although they expressed intense concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and Palestinian civilian casualties. They also emphasized that a lasting resolution would require an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

What role is David Satterfield expected to play?

David Satterfield, a former U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon and Turkey, has been appointed by the White House to lead American efforts in delivering humanitarian assistance in the Middle East. He is expected to arrive in Israel on Monday.

What was Jake Sullivan’s message regarding U.S. involvement?

Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser, stated that the U.S. was neither making demands nor interfering in Israel’s military planning. The U.S. is adhering to principles that respect civilian life and are conveying this in both public and private dialogues.

What were the specific points of discussion between Antony Blinken and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?

During their meeting, Blinken and the Saudi Crown Prince affirmed their mutual commitment to safeguarding civilians and promoting stability in the Middle East and beyond. They discussed halting terrorist attacks by Hamas and securing the release of all hostages.

Who contributed to the original report?

The original report was contributed to by Big Big News correspondents Sam Magdy in Cairo, Collen Long in Washington D.C., and Michelle L. Price in New York.

More about U.S.-Middle East Diplomacy

  • U.S. Department of State: Remarks by Secretary Blinken
  • Egypt’s Official Response to the Gaza Conflict
  • Saudi Arabia’s Position on Israel-Gaza Conflict
  • Profile: U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan
  • Humanitarian Concerns in Gaza
  • History of Israel-Gaza Conflict
  • Arab Leaders on Israel-Palestine Peace Process
  • David Satterfield: Career and Appointments
  • Overview of U.S.-Middle East Diplomacy

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7 comments

AlexWilliams October 15, 2023 - 6:25 pm

jake Sullivan’s comments were a bit vague for me. Like, are they supporting Israel unconditionally or is there a line that shouldn’t be crossed? it’s all so murky.

Reply
JohnDoe October 15, 2023 - 7:52 pm

Wow, this is a complicated situation. Blinken’s got his work cut out for him. It’s hard to juggle so many diff viewpoints, esp when stakes are this high.

Reply
MikeBrown October 16, 2023 - 9:14 am

So they appointed David Satterfield to focus on humanitarian aid, eh? Hope he can make a diff, cause god knows they need it right now.

Reply
EmilyJones October 16, 2023 - 9:44 am

Conflicts like these really put a strain on diplomatic relations. Wonder how this is gonna affect US ties with Arab nations long term.

Reply
TomWilson October 16, 2023 - 10:21 am

The report mentions concerns from Arab leaders bout humanitarian issues. Makes me think, how do we reconcile defense with humanitarian cost? It’s a tightrope walk for sure.

Reply
RachelGreen October 16, 2023 - 4:05 pm

Surprised the Arab leaders are somewhat on the same page as the U.S., at least when it comes to wanting to prevent a bigger conflict. But what about a solution? Seems like everyone’s tip-toeing around that.

Reply
SarahSmith October 16, 2023 - 4:48 pm

Egypt’s strong criticism really caught my attention. Makes you wonder how far Israel can go with self-defense before it becomes ‘collective punishment’ in the eyes of others.

Reply

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