US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Monday night that President Joe Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday. Speaking in Tel Aviv, Blinken outlined the aims of Biden’s visit.
He said, “First, the President will reaffirm the US’s solidarity with Israel and our ironclad commitment to its security. President Biden will again make clear, as he’s done unequivocally since Hamas’s slaughter of more than 1,400 people, including at least 30 Americans, that Israel has the right and indeed the duty to defend its people from Hamas and other terrorists and to prevent future attacks. The President will hear from Israel what it needs to defend its people as we continue to work with Congress to meet those needs.”
Blinken continued, “Second, President Biden will underscore our crystal-clear message to any actor, state or non-state, trying to take advantage of this crisis to attack Israel: Don’t. To that end, he’s deployed two aircraft carrier groups and other military assets to the region. “Third, the President will continue to coordinate closely with our Israeli partners to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas – including men, women, small children, Holocaust survivors, and American citizens – as an indispensable humanitarian effort.”
Blinken added that, “Biden will receive a comprehensive brief on Israel’s war aims and strategy and will hear from Israel how it will conduct its operations in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and enables humanitarian assistance to flow to civilians in Gaza in a way that does not benefit Hamas.”
In Israel, Biden will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog. While in the region he will meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah.
Blinken also announced plans by Israel and the US to extend humanitarian aid to Gaza. He said, “The US and Israel have agreed to develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza – and them alone – including the possibility of creating areas to help keep civilians out of harm’s way. It is critical that aid begin flowing into Gaza as soon as possible.
“We share Israel’s concern that Hamas may seize or destroy aid entering Gaza or otherwise preventing it from reaching the people who need it. If Hamas in any way blocks humanitarian assistance from reaching civilians, including by seizing the aid itself, we’ll be the first to condemn it and we will work to prevent it from happening again.”
According to a report in “The New York Times”, Israel has requested $10 billion in emergency aid from the US. According to the report, the US is putting together an aid package for both Israel and Ukraine. Prime Minister Netanyahu has spoken to Russian president Vladimir Putin and told him that Israel will not end the fighting until it destroys Hamas’s military and government capabilities. General Erik Kurilla, commander of United States Central Command, is in Israel to meet senior defense officials. “I’m here to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself, and am particularly focused on avoiding other parties expanding the conflict,” Kurilla said. Israel attacked Hezbollah targets in Lebanon overnight. Since the start of the war with Hamas, two US Navy aircraft carrier groups have moved to the East Mediterranean.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on October 17, 2023.
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