Antony Blinken departs for Israel, says ‘US has Israel’s back’


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday (local time) departed for Israel in a display of Washington’s support for Tel Aviv after the Hamas attack. Reaffirming support for Israel, Blinken said he is heading with a clear message that ‘’US has Israel’s back.” Speaking to reporters ahead of his departure, Blinken said, “We are heading, as you know, to Israel, and I’m going with a very simple and clear message on behalf of the President of the United States and on behalf of the American people, and that is that the United States has Israel’s back. We have the back of the Israeli people. We have their back today. We’ll have it tomorrow. We will have it every day.”
Blinken said that he would meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Issac Herzog and other senior officials in Israel. He stated that he is looking forward to meeting the US embassy team in Israel. Blinken said that the US is determined to provide everything that Israel needs to defend itself.
He further said, “We’re determined to make sure that Israel gets everything it needs to defend itself, and provide for the security of its people. Already, significant military assistance requested by Israel is on the way. That’s on top of everything that we’ve been doing for years, including with the memorandum of understanding that was negotiated by President Obama, to make sure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself.”
Asked whether the US advocated any degree of restraint in terms of possible ground operations in Gaza, Blinken said that the US is aware that Israel will take all the precautions. “I’m not getting into any of the operational details of what Israel may or may not do. I think you heard the President speak to this yesterday in his very, very strong and forceful comments. And of course, what separates Israel and the United States and other democracies when it comes to incredibly difficult situations like this is our respect for international law and as appropriate, the laws of war. “We do everything we can to make sure that in these situations we avoid civilian casualties. That is in direct contrast with Hamas, which uses people as human shields. It actually seeks to put Palestinian civilians in situations where they could be harmed. This is very much part of their part of the game plan. So, we know that Israel will take all of the precautions that it can, just as we would.