US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel to assure the nation of unwavering American support and strongly condemned Hamas for their “litany of brutality and inhumanity,” likening their actions to those of ISIS.
In his remarks alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Blinken declared, “The message that I bring to Israel is this: 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.”
Blinken’s visit comes shortly after deadly attacks by Hamas in Israel and serves as another demonstration of the Biden administration’s commitment to strengthening Israel’s defenses and preventing further escalation of the conflict. The trip also coincides with efforts to secure the release of hostages, including American citizens, held by Hamas, as the death toll continues to rise due to both Hamas attacks and Israeli strikes in Gaza.
After leaving Tel Aviv, Blinken is scheduled to visit Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. During these visits, the US will continue to urge countries to help prevent the spread of the conflict and use their influence to press Hamas for the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages, Blinken stated.
The White House reported that a “handful” of the 14 missing Americans are believed to be held hostage, with at least 27 Americans having lost their lives in the Hamas attacks. Blinken, during his stay in Israel, met with the families of Americans who were either killed or taken hostage by Hamas and vowed that the US is doing everything possible to secure their release in close collaboration with Israeli partners.
Deputy Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Steve Gillen, who traveled to Israel with the US delegation, will remain on the ground to support efforts to secure the release of the hostages, as mentioned by Blinken.
Throughout his public statements in Israel, Blinken expressed strong condemnation and shock at the brutality of the Hamas attacks. He cited graphic photos and videos shared by the Israeli government, depicting the atrocities committed by the terrorist group, including “babies slaughtered, bodies desecrated, young people burned alive, women raped, parents executed in front of their children, children in front of their parents.” Netanyahu’s office also posted similar photos on social media following their meeting.