NEWS

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

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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  It’s a great pleasure to once again be with President Herzog.  We admire and rely on his leadership, his wisdom, and his vision.  We’re thinking, of course, of the hostages and doing everything possible to bring them home.  We’re thinking, as we always do, about Israel’s security both today but also for every day, for the long term.  We’re thinking of the suffering of people caught up in the middle of conflict, including the Palestinian men, women, and children in Gaza.  We’re thinking as well of the genuine opportunities that lie before us for a better, more secure future for Israelis, Palestinians, and all of our friends in the region.  There’s a lot of work to be done to move toward that future, but I’m grateful for President Herzog and our work to not only think about it, but to help realize it.

Thank you.  Mr. President.

PRESIDENT HERZOG:  Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.  It’s always great to meet you and see you.  We thank President Biden for his steadfast support of the state of Israel, for the administration and yourself, in these dire moments.  We are here with a group of family members of the hostages, including people who were – who came back from captivity in Gaza.  And their plight is at our top priority.  We want them back and we’re working with the international community.  We are working with you and the international community on the issue of the humanitarian supply, making sure to upgrade it according to the rules of international humanitarian law whenever and wherever is necessary.

The most important issue, of course, is that if you look at the horizon – I heard your remarks today, and I think that I find them very interesting.  I think there are opportunities; they need to be studied in depth.  However, first and foremost, Israel’s security must be preserved, and for this we have to complete the work of undermining and eradicating the basic infrastructure of Hamas.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you, everyone.

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