Blinken Reaffirms Israeli Right to Self-defense, Stresses Gaza Reconstruction

The secretary of state also said that he had come to 'rebuild relationships with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian authority'

Sam Sokol
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Blinken and Netanyahu at a press conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
Blinken and Netanyahu at a press conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday.Credit: Menahem Kahana / AP
Sam Sokol

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reiterated Washington’s commitment to Israeli security during remarks delivered alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday morning in Jerusalem. 

Addressing reporters, Blinken said that he had been sent by President Joe Biden to “demonstrate the commitment of the United States to Israel's security and start to work toward greater security and reduce tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem” as well as to discuss the reconstruction of Gaza following the recent conflict.

“The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend against attack,” he asserted.

Blinken also said that he had come to “rebuild relationships with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian authority,” a likely reference to the breakdown of relations between Ramallah and Washington during the Trump administration.

Citing “intense behind the scenes discussions” between Jerusalem and Washington which “helped produce the ceasefire,” Blinken said that now is the time to “build on it,” stating that this “must start with the recognition that losses on both sides were profound.”

In order to prevent a “return to violence, we have to address a larger set of humanitarian challenges,” he continued, specifying the necessity of rebuilding the Gaza Strip while making sure that Hamas does not benefit from reconstruction assistance.

Blinken also called recognition of the “need to expand opportunities” for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, including investment in order to “foster a more stable environment.”

Thanking Netanyahu for condemning Arab-Jewish violence within Israel, Blinken reiterated President Biden’s condemnations of recent antisemitic attacks in the United States, calling them “despicable.”

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