(JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for America’s “incredible” support for Israel “in our war against the barbarians of Hamas,” on Thursday.
The press conference followed a private meeting between the two at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. “We are here, we are not going anywhere,” Blinken told Netanyahu as the meeting got underway.
“Mr. Secretary, your visit is another tangible example of America’s unequivocal support for Israel,” Netanyahu said at the press conference, who detailed some of the brutal acts carried out by the terror group Hamas, including the massacre of young revellers at an outdoor music festival.
“Hamas has shown itself to be an enemy of civilization,” the prime minister said. “President [Joe] Biden was absolutely correct in calling this sheer evil. Hamas is ISIS. And just as ISIS was crushed, so too will Hamas be crushed.”
“Hamas should be treated exactly the way ISIS was treated. They should be spit out from the community of nations. No leaders should meet them. No country should harbour them. And those that do should be sanctioned,” he added.
The prime minister said he had not doubt that the “forces of civilisation” would win because “we understand what is the first prerequisite of victory. It’s what you just said in our meeting: moral clarity.”
“This is a time, a particular time, a special time, that we must stand tall, proud and united against evil. Tony you are taking that stand. America is taking that stand,” Netanyahu said.
Blinken said he didn’t just stand before the prime minister and the Israeli people as the US envoy but “as a Jew,” whose grandfather fled pogroms and stepfather survived concentration camps.
“I understand on a personal level the harrowing echoes the Hamas massacres carry for Israeli Jews, for Jews everywhere,” he said.
“People of Israel have long and rightly prided themselves on their self reliance, on their ability to defend themselves. Even when the odds are stacked against them,” Blinken said.
“The message that I bring Israel is this: You may be strong enough on your own to defend yourself, but as long as America exists, you will never ever have to. We will always be there by your side.”
The US is supplying ammunition, replacement interceptors for the Iron Dome missile defense system and other defense materiel. “Shipments of U.S. military support have already arrived in Israel and more is on the way,” Blinken said.
“I can tell you there is overwhelming, overwhelming bipartisan support in our Congress for Israel’s security,” he added.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shaking hands with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week (Photo: Getty Images)
The top American diplomat is also set to meet with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, among other top officials.
Blinken is also slated to meet with Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas in neighbouring Jordan on Friday.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday before boarding his plane, Blinken said he was heading to Israel to deliver a clear message on behalf of the United States.
“We have the back of the Israeli people. We have their back today, we’ll have it tomorrow. We will have it every day,” he said.
“The secretary will reiterate his condolences for the victims of the terrorist attacks against Israel and condemn those attacks in the strongest terms,” said US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller on Tuesday.
Blinken will “reaffirm the United States’ solidarity with the government and people of Israel. He will also discuss measures to bolster Israel’s security and underscore the United States’ unwavering support for Israel’s right to defend itself,” added Miller.
US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke again with Netanyahu on Wednesday. The president and prime minister have spoken four times since the Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7.
Netanyahu thanked Biden “for his powerful words of support following their previous conversation yesterday, and for his unequivocal support for the State of Israel,” according to Israel’s Government Press Office.
Biden and Harris discussed “ongoing US support for Israel as Israel defends itself and protects its people,” according to the White House. “The leaders agreed to stay in regular contact in the face of an unprecedented and appalling assault by Hamas terrorists.”
“This has brought to the surface scars of antisemitism and genocide,” Biden said after the call. “There’s no excuse for terrorism. We are committed to the safety and security of Israel and the Jewish people.”