Blinken: Hamas could have ended war on October 8 by surrendering, releasing hostages

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Blinken says the US wants “this war to end as soon as possible. There’s been far too much loss of life, far too much suffering, but it’s vital that Israel achieve its very legitimate objectives of ensuring that October 7 can never happen again. We believe they’ve made considerable progress toward that goal.”

He places all the blame for suffering in the war squarely on Hamas: “At the same time it’s very important to remember that everyone has choices to make, and that includes Hamas. Hamas could have ended this on October 8 by not hiding behind civilians, by putting down its weapons, by surrendering, by releasing the hostages. None of the suffering would have happened if Hamas hadn’t done what it did on October 7 and had it made different decisions thereafter.”

“And again this could end tomorrow if Hamas makes those decisions,” he says at the press conference in Tel Aviv.

On normalization and integration, he says some countries he visited have already taken steps to normalize ties with Israel and others are interested in doing so — but not “at the expense of a political horizon for the Palestinians and ultimately a Palestinian state. On the contrary,” he stresses, “that piece has to be a part of any integration efforts, any normalization efforts. That was also very clear in my conversations during the course of this trip, including in Saudi Arabia.”

The US and the leaders he met on this trip, he concludes, “support Palestinian governance, that’s joined, of Gaza and the West Bank, and a pathway to a state.”

Most Popular