Blinken says he’s departing for Israel with a simple message: ‘We have their back’

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards a plane, October 11, 2023, at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, en route to Israel. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he boards a plane, October 11, 2023, at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, en route to Israel. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

Speaking to reporters before boarding a plane at Joint Base Andrews, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he’s heading to Israel with “a very simple and clear message on behalf of the president of the United States and on behalf of the American people, and that is that the United States has Israel’s back.

“We have the back of the Israeli people. We have their back today. We’ll have it tomorrow. We will have it every day,” Blinken says.

He says he will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog and other senior officials upon landing on Thursday.

Blinken reiterates that the US is determined to ensure that Israel has the means to defend itself, highlighting the Islamic State-levels of depravity committed by Hamas.

He says the US will continue working to ensure that no additional actors join the fight against Israel.

Blinken adds that he’ll also work with Israeli counterparts to locate the hostages — which include American citizens — and work to secure their release.

Pressed on whether the Biden administration has urged Israel to exercise restraint in responding to the Hamas attacks, Blinken says, “We know that Israel will take all of the precautions that it can – just as we would. That’s what separates us from Hamas and terrorist groups that engage in the most heinous kind of activities.”

Blinken will travel to Amman on Friday where he will meet with senior Jordanian officials as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who will be traveling with a delegation that includes PA intelligence chief Majed Faraj and PLO Executive Committee Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh, a Palestinian official says.

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