Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant Before Their Meeting


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Mr. Minister, good to be with you.

DEFENSE MINISTER GALLANT:  Thank you for coming.  Thank you for being here in the middle of the war, the just war, for the future of the Jewish people and for the future of Israel.  We appreciate very much your personal commitment to this just war, and we are going to fight Hamas till we prevail, no matter how long it takes.  It’s a just war.  It’s a war to end Hamas, the ISIS of Gaza.  And it’s a war to bring the hostages back home – as long as it takes.  Thank you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very much, Yoav.  First, I should say, again, this day started off in a terrible and very negative way with another terrorist attack that took the lives of innocent Israelis in Jerusalem, a reminder of what Israel and what every Israeli citizen has to face every day.  We condemn it, and we also mourn the loss of these innocent lives, as we mourn the loss of any innocent life.

At the same time, this was the seventh day of the humanitarian pause, the seventh day of hostages coming home to their loved ones.  And I know that for Israel, for the United States, for a number of other countries around the world who have their citizens being held hostage by Hamas, we want every hostage to come home.  And so we look to see if this can continue.  Certainly that would be a good thing.  It’s also allowed much more humanitarian assistance to get in to the Gazans who need it, but it’s going to be up to Hamas whether they will continue to do this.

We had a very good conversation session earlier today with the prime minister, with the war cabinet.  I appreciated the discussion we had.  I’ll have more to say about that later today.  And again, look forward to our conversation now.  Thank you.

DEFENSE MINISTER GALLANT:  Thank you.  With your permission, can I say a few words in Hebrew?

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Of course, of course.


(In English) Thank you very much.

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