Following Israel’s formal declaration of war against Hamas, last week, both Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Israel while President Joe Biden traveled to Israel this week.
While meeting with Israeli officials last Friday, Secretary Austin offered assurances that the United States has their back and said that the Pentagon is prepared to send more lethal aid to Israel as it prepares for a ground invasion.
Secretary Blinken held meetings with Israeli officials to discuss a plan to allow humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza. He said the United States has stressed to Israeli officials the “importance of taking every possible precaution” to limit civilian casualties in its attacks in Gaza.
After meeting with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv last Thursday, Blinken met with Arab officials, including those from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. In addition to meeting with Qatar’s foreign minister in Doha, Blinken met with Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Associated Press reported.
On Wednesday, President Biden flew to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the wartime cabinet before returning to the US.
According to CBS News, the president urged Israel to resist being “consumed” by its justifiable anger. Biden said global powers will have to ask themselves “very hard questions” and make sure that any actions they take have clear objectives.
The president told Israeli officials that while the country is a “Jewish state,” it is also a democracy and should not “live by the rules of terror.” He urged Israeli officials to remember that democracies believe in “the fundamental dignity of every human life,” and warned that abandoning that allows the “terrorists to win.”
Biden also revealed while in Israel that after reviewing data from the Pentagon, he was convinced that the explosion at the hospital in Gaza was not from an Israeli airstrike but from a failed rocket launched from inside Gaza.