May 30, 2024

Secretary Blinken Reaffirms U.S. Support for Israel’s Right to Defend Itself During Visit to Tel Aviv

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III meet with Angolan President João Lourenço in Washington, D.C. on December 13, 2022. [State Department photo by Freddie Everett/
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III meet with Angolan President João Lourenço in Washington, D.C. on December 13, 2022. [State Department photo by Freddie Everett/

United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Friday reiterated the United States’ unwavering support for Israel’s right to defend itself against security threats.

Speaking during a press conference in Tel-Aviv, the Secretary addressed various critical issues, including the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, humanitarian concerns, and the path toward a lasting peace.

Secretary Blinken began his remarks by recalling his earlier visit to Israel, closely following the attack by Hamas on October 7th, and emphasized that the United States stands firmly with Israel and will continue to do so. During his fourth visit to Israel since October 7th, Secretary Blinken reaffirmed this support in discussions with Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog, and members of the security cabinet.

The Secretary highlighted the importance of Israel’s right to self-defense and its obligation to protect its citizens. He noted that the U.S. is actively working with Congress to provide additional assistance for Israel’s defense and to address urgent humanitarian needs in Gaza.

Secretary Blinken described the horrifying realities faced by Israeli civilians during the attack on October 7th, sharing harrowing stories of families facing terror and violence. He stressed that no country should tolerate the senseless slaughter of innocents.

The Secretary also discussed the need to prevent further escalation of the conflict and its spread to other regions. He emphasized that the U.S. will respond to attacks by Iran’s proxies to protect American personnel in the region.

Addressing the humanitarian aspect of the crisis, Secretary Blinken called for the protection of Palestinian civilians, emphasizing that Israel’s conduct in its campaign to defeat Hamas matters greatly. He expressed concerns about the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and stressed that there would be no partners for peace if civilians continued to suffer.

The Secretary condemned Hamas for using Palestinian civilians as human shields and hiding weapons in residential areas, schools, mosques, and hospitals. He mentioned that the U.S. has offered advice to Israel on minimizing civilian casualties while targeting Hamas terrorists and infrastructure.

Secretary Blinken also underlined the need to increase the flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza and facilitate the evacuation of American citizens and foreign nationals from the area. He mentioned the recent efforts to scale up aid deliveries. He discussed concrete steps to ensure the delivery of food, water, medicine, fuel, and other essential supplies to those in need.

Regarding the release of hostages, including American citizens, Secretary Blinken called for humanitarian pauses and arrangements on the ground to improve civilian safety and facilitate humanitarian aid. He acknowledged the complexity of these issues and emphasized the need for urgent solutions.

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