Blinken said to tell US Jewish leaders escalation with Iran is not in Israel’s interest

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a meeting at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, April 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla, Pool)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a meeting at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, April 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla, Pool)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tells American Jewish leaders that an escalation of the conflict between Israel and Iran is not in Washington or Jerusalem’s interests, reports Axios, citing meeting attendees.

At the same time, Blinken stresses the US is not telling Israel to avoid a response, and that it is ultimately Israel’s decision. “Be smart, strategic, and limited as possible,” was how one attendees describes Blinken’s message.

Another US official says that the US believes that if Iran attacks again, “it will be very hard to replicate the huge success we had on Saturday… and the Israelis know it.”

Blinken also posits that Hamas might have rejected the latest hostage deal offer because they were hoping the Iranian strike would spark a wider conflict. Hamas might feel it is under pressure again to make a deal now that it appears a regional escalation is less likely, says Blinken.

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