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Visiting Israeli defense chief seeks to reaffirm US support

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz sought a reaffirmation of U.S. security commitments to Israel on Thursday as the country weathers its greatest domestic political upheaval in years and the aftermath of last month’s war with Hamas militants in Gaza.

A key aim of Gantz’s visit to Washington is believed to be securing U.S. funding to help restock Israel’s Iron Dome, a sophisticated missile defense system that smacked down many of the more than 4,000 rockets that . . .

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Blinken claims progress in effort to boost Gaza truce

CAIRO (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up a two-day Mideast mission on Wednesday, winning valuable diplomatic support and hundreds of millions of dollars of pledges from Arab allies as he moved to shore up the cease-fire that ended an 11-day war between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s militant Hamas rulers.

But the mission made little headway in resolving the deeper issues at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the tensions in the contested holy city of Jerusalem that played a key role in the latest war.

After two days of talks with Israeli, Palestinian and Arab allies, Blinken acknowledged that any resumption of peace talks . . .

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US to reopen Jerusalem consulate, upgrading Palestinian ties

JERUSALEM (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Tuesday that the U.S. would reopen its consulate in Jerusalem — a move that restores ties with Palestinians that had been downgraded by the Trump administration.

The consulate long served as an autonomous office in charge of diplomatic relations with the Palestinians. But former U.S. President Donald Trump downgraded its operations and placed them under the authority of his ambassador to Israel when he moved the embassy to Jerusalem.

Trump’s move infuriated the Palestinians, who view east Jerusalem as occupied territory and the . . .

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Blinken off to Mideast to push peace talks after Gaza truce

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken is heading to the Middle East to press the Israelis, Palestinians and regional players to build on last week’s Gaza cease-fire by laying the groundwork for an eventual resumption in long-stalled peace talks.

President Joe Biden announced Blinken would depart on Monday for a short visit to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and Egypt for what will be the Biden administration’s highest-level in-person meetings on the crisis that erupted earlier this month.

In a statement, Biden said Blinken will also work with regional partners to ensure “the coordinated international . . .

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Blinken stresses US resolve in call with Russian diplomat

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his Russian counterpart on Wednesday that the Biden administration will not waver in responding to aggression from Moscow in the United States or elsewhere.

The State Department said Blinken made that point in a telephone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov before what will be their first face-to-face talks next week on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting in Iceland. That meeting . . .

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