Jerusalem, May 25 (AP) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Israel at the start of a Middle East tour aimed at shoring up the Gaza cease-fire.

He will face the same obstacles that have stifled a wider peace process for more than a decade, including a hawkish Israeli leadership, Palestinian divisions and deeply rooted tensions surrounding Jerusalem and its holy sites.

The 11-day Gaza war killed more than 250 people, mostly Palestinians, and caused widespread destruction in the impoverished coastal territory. Blinken is expected to focus on coordinating reconstruction without engaging with Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers, who are considered terrorists by Israel and Western countries.

The truce that came into effect Friday has so far held, but it did not address any of the underlying issues.

Blinken, who arrived in Israel early Tuesday, is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the region since President Joe Biden assumed office.


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