Blinken meets Herzog, Gantz, Lapid on final day in Israel
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with families of Israelis held by Hamas in Gaza, in Tel Aviv on June 11, 2024.
Photo: Tomer Appelbaum/POOL.

The U.S. top diplomat reiterated his “ironclad” support for Israel.

By JNS Staff Report
June 11, 2024

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wrapped up his trip to Israel on Tuesday by meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, former War Cabinet minister and National Unity Party chief Benny Gantz and opposition leader Yair Lapid.

From Israel, Blinken heads to meetings in Amman, Jordan.

Following the meeting, Gantz tweeted that he had “reiterated the imperative of, particularly during these times, applying maximum pressure on the negotiators to secure Hamas’s agreement to the arrangement to bring the hostages home.”

He also said that despite leaving the government on Sunday, his “party will support any responsible arrangement on the matter from outside the government.”

Gantz also discussed the threat from Hezbollah in the north, writing, “I emphasized that the United States together with the international community have an important role to play in removing the threat posed by Hezbollah on Israel’s northern border. I stressed further that if the world cannot do so—Israel will not hesitate to act forcefully to protect the citizens of northern Israel, and enable their safe return home.”

Lapid tweeted after meeting with Blinken that, “We need to make a deal. Until everyone returns we will not know rest, this country will not sleep and will not be quiet. None of us will sleep or be quiet and we will not stop until there is a deal.”

The morning meetings followed meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which included Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, Derek Chollet, a counselor to the U.S. Department of State and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Blinken “reiterated that the United States and other world leaders will stand behind the comprehensive proposal outlined by President Biden that would lead to an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the release of all hostages, and a significant and sustained increase in humanitarian assistance for distribution throughout Gaza,” according to a U.S. readout of the meeting.

Blinken was said to have emphasized the importance of preventing the conflict from expanding further, claiming that the proposed deal with Hamas “would unlock the possibility of calm along Israel’s northern border and further integration with countries in the region.”

The secretary also updated Netanyahu on plans for the “post-conflict period, emphasizing the importance of those efforts to providing long-term peace, security and stability to Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

With Gallant, Blinken also discussed the hostage deal and “underscored the proposal would advance Israel’s long-term security interests, including by enabling the possibility of further integration in the region.  He reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad commitment to Israel’s security,” according to the State Department.

Blinken arrived in Israel from Egypt, where he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and discussed the hostage deal and the need to open up the Rafah Crossing between Egypt and Gaza. Cairo refuses to open the crossing to humanitarian aid as a form of protest against Israeli operations there and refusal to bring in Palestinian partners to oversee the border.

In Jordan, Blinken is scheduled to attend a conference on the humanitarian response to Gaza co-hosted by Jordan, Egypt and the United Nations, according to the State Department.

From there he will fly to Apulia, Italy from June 13-14 for the G7 Leaders’ Summit.

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