U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken jetted to Egypt and Jordan on Wednesday as he pressed ahead with a diplomatic mission aimed at shoring up a ceasefire that ended an 11-day war between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s ruling Hamas militant group.
Blinken landed in Cairo a day after holding intensive talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. In Egypt, he met with President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and other top officials. Later he traveled to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II.
Blinken has vowed to “rally international support” to rebuild hard-hit Gaza while promising to make sure that none of the aid reaches Hamas. He is instead trying to bolster Hamas’ rival, the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority.
In a boost to those efforts, the energy-rich Gulf country of Qatar pledged $500 million to postwar reconstruction in Gaza. Qatar often serves as a mediator between Israel and Hamas and it has contributed hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian and development aid to support past cease-fires.
“We will continue to support our brothers in Palestine in order to reach a just and lasting solution by establishing their independent state,” Qatar’s foreign minister, Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, wrote on Twitter.