Antony Blinken
Antony BlinkenREUTERS/Remo Casilli

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Israel next week, his eighth visit since Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel and the war in Gaza which followed, the State Department announced on Friday.

Blinken is expected to push the outline for a ceasefire and hostage release deal which President Joe Biden unveiled last week.

In addition to Israel, Blinken will also visit Egypt, Jordan and Qatar. The visit will run from Monday through Wednesday, the State Department said.

The Secretary of State "will emphasize the importance of Hamas accepting the proposal on the table, which is nearly identical to one Hamas endorsed last month," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

He "will discuss how the ceasefire proposal would benefit both Israelis and Palestinians. He will underscore that it would alleviate suffering in Gaza, enable a massive surge in humanitarian assistance and allow Palestinians to return to their neighborhoods," added Miller.

In Jordan, Blinken will take part in a UN-backed conference on the humanitarian response in Gaza.

According to the proposal outlined by Biden last week, the first phase of the three-phase process would last for six weeks and would include a full and complete ceasefire, withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza, and the release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly, and the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian Arab prisoners.

Phase two would see the release of all remaining living hostages, while phase three would encompass "a major reconstruction plan for Gaza," said the President, as well as the repatriation of the remains of deceased hostages to their families.

Miller on Wednesday published a video to his social media account in which he outlined Biden’s three-phase plan and urged Hamas to accept it.

“The only thing standing in between the people of Gaza and an immediate ceasefire is Hamas,” Miller said.

On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar has rejected the Biden administration's ceasefire proposal, vowing that the terrorist organization will keep its weapons.

Later, however, Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said that Hamas has not yet handed mediators its response to the latest ceasefire proposal and is still studying it.

According to reports in the US, the Biden administration has spent the last week pushing allies in the Middle East to make specific threats to Hamas, as part of an urgent campaign to push the group toward accepting the proposal.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)