Blinken meets opposition figures Gantz, Lapid in Tel Aviv

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, shakes hands with Opposition Leader Yair Lapid during a meeting in Tel Aviv, June 11, 2024. (Jack Guez/Pool Photo via AP)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, shakes hands with Opposition Leader Yair Lapid during a meeting in Tel Aviv, June 11, 2024. (Jack Guez/Pool Photo via AP)

Visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets separately in Tel Aviv with opposition figures Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid.

In a statement from Gantz’s office, the National Unity party leader says he urged Blinken to apply “maximum pressure” on negotiators to reach a hostage release deal, saying he will “support any responsible arrangement on the matter from outside the government.”

Gantz, who quit the coalition this week, also tells Blinken that if the threat from Hezbollah in the north cannot be removed, “Israel will not hesitate to act forcefully” to protect its citizens.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) meets with National Unity party leader Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv on June 11, 2024. (Courtesy)

According to Lapid’s office, the opposition leader told Blinken that “we have one goal — to bring home 120 hostages. Their time is up. We need a deal.”

Blinken also met earlier today with President Isaac Herzog, and yesterday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Protesters linked to the hostage families hold a demonstration outside Blinken’s Tel Aviv hotel demanding the US help reach a deal to free their loved ones.

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