Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Israeli President Herzog

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JANUARY 9, 2024

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Matthew Miller:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met today with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Tel Aviv. The Secretary reiterated U.S. support for Israel’s right to ensure the terrorist attacks of October 7 cannot be repeated and emphasized the need to take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians. Secretary Blinken and President Herzog reviewed the ongoing efforts to secure the release of all remaining hostages. Secretary Blinken emphasized the imperative of facilitating the increased and sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza and discussed efforts to achieve broader regional integration that ensures Israel’s security and advances the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.


Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Israeli President Isaac Herzog Before Their Meeting



PRESIDENT HERZOG:  Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  Good morning, Secretary Blinken.  As always, it’s such a pleasure to have you in Israel.  This is your fourth trip already in this Gaza war, and we are very grateful to you for your support and for your steadfast commitment to Israel’s safety and to making sure that Israel wins this war, because it’s a war that affects international values and the values of the free world.

Yesterday I had a long conversation with the Vice President.  It was a productive conversation, and I would reiterate what I told her.  On Thursday, a proceeding will start in the International Court of Justice in The Hague whereby the South Africa has sued Israel for supposedly genocide.  There is nothing more atrocious and preposterous than this claim.  Actually our enemies, the Hamas, in their charter, call for the destruction and annihilation of the state of Israel – the only nation-state of the Jewish people.  The convention against genocide was enacted by the international community following the worst atrocities of humankind – the Shoah, the Holocaust, which was aimed specifically against the Jews, the Jewish people, in order to eliminate the Jewish race, the Jewish people.  In Hamas’s charter it’s almost identical in many, many ways.

And here, with the hypocrisy of South Africa, we will be there at the International Court of Justice and will present proudly our case of using self-defense, under our most inherent right under international humanitarian law, where we are doing our utmost in under extremely complicated circumstances on the ground, to make sure that there will be no unintended consequences and no civilian casualties.  We are alerting, we are calling, we are showing, we are sending leaflets – we are using all the means that international law enables us in order to move out people so that we can unravel this huge city of terror underneath in people’s homes, living rooms, and bedrooms, mosques, and shops, and schools.

Yesterday we unraveled a huge factory of terror underneath a humanitarian corridor which Israel is employing in order to help the civilians of Gaza, which I want to thank the United States of America President Biden and the administration and you, Secretary Blinken, for your moral call of duty, for the fact that you’re standing steadfast with Israel in this battle which has to do clearly with humanity and with the values of the free world.  Thank you very much.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, thank you, Mr. President.  And as always, we greatly value the president’s leadership in these incredibly challenging times – for Israel, for countries in the region, and especially the people who continue to suffer.

I’ve just come from a number of countries in the region – Türkiye, Greece, Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia – and I want to be able to share some of what I heard from those leaders with the president, as well as with the prime minister and the cabinet later today.  And of course we’ll have an opportunity to sit with the families of some of the hostages and discuss our relentless efforts to bring everyone home and back with their families.  And there’s lots to talk about in particular about the way forward.

So I look forward to these conversations.  As always, it’s very good to be with you. Thank you.

PRESIDENT HERZOG:  Thank you very much.


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