“I came to Israel bearing a simple message,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “The United States stands with Israel and with its people – today, tomorrow, every day.” Following Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel, he also said this must be a “moment for moral clarity.”
“Too often in the past, leaders have equivocated in the face of terrorist attacks against Israel and its people. That’s why we’ve been adamant with all countries in the wake of these attacks: There is no excuse, there is no justification for these atrocities,” he said.
Speaking at a press conference in Tel Aviv, Secretary Blinken said, “Anyone who wants peace and justice must condemn Hamas’s reign of terror.” He added, “No country can or would tolerate the slaughter of its citizens – or simply return to the conditions that allowed it to take place:”
“Israel has the right – indeed, the obligation – to defend itself and to ensure that this never happens again.”
Secretary Blinken also met with the families of American citizens that Hamas has killed or taken hostage.
“We’re doing everything we can to secure the release of the hostages, working closely with our Israeli partners. I brought with me to Israel our Deputy Special Representative for Hostage Affairs Steve Gillen, who joined my meetings with the families and will stay on the ground here to support the efforts to free their loved ones, he said.”
Across each of his engagements, Secretary Blinken continued “pressing countries to help prevent the conflict from spreading, and to use their leverage with Hamas to immediately and unconditionally release the hostages.”
At the same time, the United States continues to pursue a more peaceful and prosperous vision for the region, said Secretary Blinken:
“We’ve been engaged in trying to support and advance the possibility of normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia and other countries that do not yet have normalized relations with Israel.”
Secretary Blinken noted that Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran oppose such normalization.
The United States, said Secretary Blinken, is standing with “all those who reject terror to help find the glimmers of light, even in this moment of deep darkness, and to make clear as that as long as there’s a United States, Israel will never be alone.”