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Distrusting Netanyahu, US takes oversight role in Israel's Hamas war

The two visits to Israel by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, another by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and the expected arrival on Wednesday of President Joe Biden reflect American concerns over the outbreak of a regional war.
Israeli soldiers deploy near the border with Gaza on October 17, 2023. US President Joe Biden will visit Israel on October 18 in a show of "ironclad" support as Washington tries to prevent the escalating war against Hamas in Gaza from spilling into a wider Middle East conflict. (Photo by Menahem KAHANA / AFP) (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)

TEL AVIV — For the second time in four days, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Israel on Monday. But apart from meeting again with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog, Blinken also participated in the meeting of the war cabinet Israel established last Wednesday. 

It was a rare, perhaps unprecedented move, highlighting the intense US efforts to contain the fallout of the Hamas-Israel war. Blinken sat in on a seven-hour session with Israel’s top defense brass shortly after arriving in Israel from a round of shuttle diplomacy in regional capitals. 

Blinken returned to Tel Aviv a day after US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin paid a visit to Israel and met with the country’s military and defense brass. Amid the US campaign to prevent the spread of the war and mitigate its disastrous consequences for Gaza, President Joe Biden is expected in Israel Wednesday. The Americans are also providing Israel with much-needed munitions and aircraft carriers, destroyers and deploying warships off its shore.

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