‘The United States stands with Israel’: Blinken lands at Ben Gurion Airport after flying in to show solidarity in wake of brutal Hamas attack, before meeting Palestinian leaders tomorrow
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Tel Aviv just after 10 a.m. local time after pledging all the help Israel needs to defeat Hamas
- He arrives as Iran-backed Hezbollah again exchanges fire with troops on Israel’s border with Lebanon
Antony Blinken has landed in Israel to meet with senior officials in the country as violence continues to rise following the brutal attack on the country by Hamas last weekend.
He landed just after 3 a.m. Eastern Time, 10 a.m. local time in Tel Aviv. Blinken was greeted on the tarmac by administration officials who offered him a warm hug.
Before leaving the US, Blinken said his simple message was: “The United States stands with Israel.” The secretary will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a member of his senior cabinet, and President Isaac Herzog.
Blinken will also sit down with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday.
Blinken will be accompanied on his peacekeeping mission by his Deputy Chief of Staff Tom Sullivan, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf, Special Representative for Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr and Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Steve Gillen.
The secretary of state became the highest-ranking US official to visit the country since Saturday’s Hamas terror attack that killed more than 1,200 Israelis.
The death toll in Gaza has also reached almost 1,200, the Palestinian Health Ministry said last night, after four days of brutal Israeli airstrikes on the Hamas-controlled area.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (left) welcomes Secretary of State Antony Blinken upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv
President Joe Biden has sent his top diplomat to Israel on an urgent mission to show US support after Hamas’ unprecedented attack
But Blinken insisted he would not try to curb the Israeli counterattack ahead of a widely expected invasion of the densely populated enclave.
“We know that Israel will take all possible precautions, just as we would, and that is what separates us from Hamas and terrorist groups that are engaged in the most heinous activities,” he told reporters as he left.
The foreign minister will offer further military support when he meets Netanyahu after a second US aircraft carrier commandeered the region.
But he will also try to stop the spread of the conflict after Israeli forces again exchanged artillery fire with Iran-backed Hezbollah militants across the Lebanese border in the north.
“We will reiterate the very strong message that President Biden has delivered to any country or party that might try to take advantage of this situation, and that message is: don’t do that.”
“The United States stands with Israel.
“Today we stand behind them, tomorrow we will stand behind them, and we will stand behind them every day. And we will always stand firmly against terrorism.
“We have not seen this kind of depravity since Isis and we will continue to oppose it resolutely.
“There is already significant military aid on the way, requested by Israel, on top of everything we have been doing for years.
“There will be more requests to come and we have already been working closely with Congress on this and we look forward to continuing to do so so that Israel gets what it needs.
America’s top diplomat has already been on the phone trying to pressure Hamas to release about 150 hostages the country took from Israel in its deadly cross-border attack.
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken pledged that ‘the United States stands with Israel’ as he became the highest-ranking US official to visit the country since the October 7 attack
Palestinian officials said death toll in Gaza already nears 1,200 ahead of expected Israeli ground invasion
He has spoken with leaders in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates and is expected to visit at least some during his trip to the Middle East.
But critics claimed the unforeseen attack is a symptom of years of neglect in the region, leaving the US playing catch-up.
“The attack by Hamas is a reminder of the perception of an American absence or lack of involvement in the region, which some actors might interpret and do things they should not do,” said Alex Vatanka, director of Iran’s the Middle East. Institute.