TEL AVIV: Assuring Washington’s support to Israel at a time when the country is fighting a war against Hamas, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that as long as America exists, Israel will never have to defend itself alone.
In a joint presser with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today, Blinken vowed his support to Tel Aviv and also lauded the bravery of Israeli citizens amid the ongoing conflict that has claimed the lives of over 1,300 Israelis.
“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,” The Times of Israel quoted Blinken as saying.
“That’s the message that President Joe Biden delivered to the prime minister from the moment that this crisis began,” he added.
Condemning the killings done by Hamas of civilians in Israel, Blinked further highlighted, “Babies slaughtered, bodies desecrated, young people burnt alive, women raped, parents executed in front of their children– how are we even to understand this? To digest this? And yet, at the same time, we have been shocked by the depravity of Hamas. We have also been inspired by the bravery of Israeli citizens…The grandfather who drove over an hour to a kibbutz under siege armed only with a pistol and rescued his kids and grandkids…the mother who died shielding her teenage son with her body, giving her life to save his. Giving him life for a second time. The volunteer security teams on the kibbutzes who swiftly rallied to defend their friends and neighbours despite being heavily outnumbered.”
“The people of Israel have long and rightly prided themselves on their self-reliance, on their ability to defend themselves even when the odds are stacked against them,” Blinken continued.
Notably, the death toll in Israel since the Hamas attack on October 7 has jumped to 1,300 and some 3300 have been injured, including 28 in critical condition and 350 in serious condition, The Times of Israel reported citing Hebrew media reports.
The fate of an estimated 150 people abducted and taken to the Gaza Strip during the attack by Hamas is still unclear, the report said.
Continuing further, Blinken said, “I come before you not only as the United States Secretary of State, but also as a Jew. My grandfather fled pogroms in Russia. My stepfather survived the concentration camp, Auschwitz…So, I understand on a personal level harrowing echoes that the Hamas’ massacres carry for Israeli Jews and indeed for Jews everywhere.”
“Tragically, the number of innocent lives claimed by Hamas’ heinous attacks continue to rise. Among those, we now know that at least 25 American citizens were killed…,” he added, according to The Times of Israel.
In the same presser, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also said that Hamas should be crushed and that the group should be treated the same way as the Islamic State, or ISIS.
He said Hamas should be “spit out from the community of nations,” with countries facing sanctions if they harbour Hamas.
“Hamas is ISIS and just as ISIS was crushed, so too will Hamas be crushed. Hamas should be treated exactly the way ISIS was treated. They should be spat out from the community of nations. No leader should meet them, no country should harbour them and those that do should be sanctioned” he said.
PM Netanyahu in a joint presser with US State Secretary Antony Blinken, went on to emphasise that Hamas deliberately targets civilians and reaffirmed US President Joe Biden’s characterization of Hamas as “sheer evil.” Highlighting the brutal acts committed by Hamas, PM Netanyahu said, “Hamas has shown itself to be an enemy of civilisation. The massacring of young people at an outdoor music festival, the butchering of entire families, the murder of parents in front of their children and the murder of children in front of their parents, the burning of people alive, the beheadings, the kidnappings of a young boy.”
He said further, “Not only kidnap, molest the kidnapped and the sickening display of celebrating these horrors, the celebration and glorification of evil – President Biden was absolutely correct in calling this sheer evil.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv earlier today along with a team of officials, Israel-based i24 News English reported. His visit to Tel Aviv comes amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas after the latter launched an attack on October 7.