Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to Israel recently in order to build on the Gaza ceasefire.
“That starts with the recognition that losses on both sides were profound,” said Secretary Blinken:
“Casualties are often reduced to numbers but behind every number is an individual human being – a daughter, a son, a father, a mother, a grandparent, a best friend. . . .I underscored to the prime minister something that President Biden made crystal-clear throughout the violence: The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks such as the thousands of rockets fired by Hamas indiscriminately against Israeli civilians.”
Secretary Blinken and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed Israel’s security needs, including replenishing Iron Dome.
“We’ll continue to strengthen all aspects of our longstanding partnership,” affirmed Secretary Blinken. “And that includes consulting closely with Israel. . . on the ongoing negotiations in Vienna around a potential return to the Iran nuclear agreement, at the same time as we continue to work together to counter Iran’s destabilizing actions in the region.”
“We know that to prevent a return to violence, we have to. . .address a larger set of underlying issues and challenges, and that begins with tackling the grave humanitarian situation in Gaza,” said Secretary Blinken:
“The United States will work to rally international support around that effort while also making our own significant contributions. We’ll work with our partners, closely with all to ensure that Hamas does not benefit from the reconstruction assistance.”
“At the same time,” said Secretary Blinken, “we need to work to expand opportunity for Palestinians in Gaza and in the West Bank, including by strengthening the private sector, expanding trade and investment, and other means.”
“We believe that Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely; to enjoy equal measures of freedom, opportunity, and democracy; to be treated with dignity,” said Secretary Blinken.
“There’s a lot of hard work ahead to restore hope, respect, and some trust across communities,” said Secretary Blinken. “But we’ve seen the alternative, and I think that should cause all of us to redouble our efforts to preserve the peace and improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians alike.”