Blinken: Israel has right to defend itself

US secretary of state calls for protection of civilians

Abdul Raouf Arnaout  | 03.11.2023 - Update : 03.11.2023
Blinken: Israel has right to defend itself


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that Israel has right to defend itself but also called for the protection of civilians.

“We stand strongly for the proposition that Israel has not only the right but the obligation to defend itself and to do everything possible to make sure that this October 7th can never happen again,” Blinken said before their meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Tel Aviv, referring to the Hamas attack on Israel that set off the current conflict.

“It is very important that when it comes to the protection of civilians who are caught in a crossfire of Hamas’s making that everything be done to protect them and to bring assistance to those who so desperately need it and who are not in any way responsible for what happened on October 7th,” he added.

Blinken said that the US is “determined to do everything that it can” to bring many hostages, including Israelis, Americans, other nationals, back safely.

Herzog, for his part, said: “We are sending over 1.2 million leaflets to the citizens of Gaza. We’ve carried out 6 million text messages and 4 million phone calls to the citizens of Gaza according to the rules of international law where we alerted the citizens in advance, including before the Jabalia attack.”

Blinken arrived in Tel Aviv on Friday, marking his third visit to Israel since the start of the conflict.

He later met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, as reported by the Prime Minister's office.

Despite its being Israel’s most steadfast ally, the US might be feeling the heat from worldwide protests against weeks of Israeli attacks on Gaza, leaving thousands of Palestinians dead, including many women and children.

Blinken’s nod towards the need to protect civilians may be meant to address that, although critics might see it as more of a half-measure than a real attempt to halt the mounting death toll in Gaza.

*Writing by Ziad Aslan in Ankara

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