In a meeting with Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken conveyed his understanding of the deep impact of recent Hamas attacks on Israeli Jews and assured Israel of unwavering American support. This comes as Blinken embarks on a mission to the Middle East with the goal of mitigating the ongoing conflict.
Standing beside Prime Minister Netanyahu at a military base in Tel Aviv, Blinken made a heartfelt plea for Israel to exercise restraint in its response to the crisis. He implored Israel to take all necessary precautions to protect the lives of innocent civilians.
Secretary Blinken’s Middle East tour coincides with Israel’s most intense bombing campaign in its 75-year history of conflict with the Palestinians. Israel is determined to counter the attacks by Hamas, the governing authority in the Gaza Strip, which targeted Israelis in recent incidents.
During his visit, Blinken will also endeavor to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, including some believed to be American citizens. He will engage in discussions with Israeli and Egyptian authorities to establish a safe path for Gaza residents to exit the enclave, particularly in the event of a potential Israeli ground invasion.
Blinken revealed that at least 25 Americans were among the casualties of the Hamas attacks and assured Israel of the enduring support of the United States. He stated, “You may be strong enough on your own to defend yourself. But as long as America exists, you will never ever have to. We will always be there by your side.”
He also shared a personal connection, recounting the experiences of his own family members who survived historic atrocities, emphasizing his understanding of the trauma inflicted by Hamas’ actions on Israeli Jews and Jews worldwide.
Following his visit to Israel, Secretary Blinken will travel to Jordan for discussions with King Abdullah and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He is also expected to visit other Arab nations, though specific details have not been disclosed.
One of the underlying objectives of Blinken’s trip is to send a clear message to Iran, which supports Hamas, to refrain from becoming involved in the ongoing conflict.
In response to the recent attack by Hamas, Israel has pledged to retaliate for what it considers the deadliest assault on Jewish civilians in its history. Hamas militants breached the border fence and launched attacks on Israeli towns, resulting in a significant escalation of the conflict.
Blinken acknowledged Israel’s right to defend itself but emphasized the importance of distinguishing democratic nations from terrorists by adhering to higher standards, even in challenging circumstances. He emphasized the need to minimize harm to civilians and confirmed the United States’ commitment to working with Congress to meet Israel’s evolving defense requirements.
Israel has declared that it will not ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip until all hostages are released. Additionally, the U.S. is actively working to facilitate the safe passage of civilians, including Palestinian Americans residing in Gaza.
Containing the conflict remains a top priority for the United States. Blinken has been engaged in discussions with regional allies to encourage Iran and Iran-backed groups to stay out of the conflict. A senior State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, emphasized the commitment to demonstrate that the U.S. is dedicated to preventing other parties from getting involved in the ongoing conflict.