ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 141

search

Blinken says there’s ‘a lot of work to be done’ before final hostage deal is reached

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

President Isaac Herzog (right) meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, February 7, 2024. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Pool)
President Isaac Herzog (right) meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, February 7, 2024. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Pool)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets President Isaac Herzog at his residence in Jerusalem to discuss the proposed hostage deal and Hamas’s response and says “there’s a lot of work to be done” before a deal is reached.

“We’re looking at it intensely,” Blinken says of the proposal, “as is, I know, the Government of Israel, and there’s a lot of work to be done, but we are very much focused on doing that work and hopefully, being able to resume the release of hostages that was interrupted so many months ago.”

“We are yearning and praying for the immediate release of our hostages,” says Herzog. “We want to see them back as soon as possible. The situation is dire. And clearly, Hamas is violating every rule of human behavior in this respect.”

Herzog also emphasizes that Israel is following international humanitarian law and is facilitating the entry of aid into Gaza, an issue over which the Biden administration has been pressing Israel.

“We’ve made it clear in the International Court of Justice in the Hague,” he continued, “we made it clear at all forums that are relevant to this question and as such, we of course condemn and reject any call for hurting or damaging any civilian population anywhere, let alone of course, in this conflict.”

President Isaac Herzog (right) meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, February 7, 2024. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Pool)

Blinken blames civilian deaths and suffering in Gaza squarely on Hamas.

“There are so many innocent men, women, and children who are suffering as a result of the attacks perpetrated by Hamas, and now being caught in a crossfire of Hamas’s making,” he tells Herzog.

Blinken also sounds an optimistic note about the chances for normalization with Saudi Arabia: “I’ve heard, including in Saudi Arabia, as well as in other places, in Egypt and Qatar, and I do believe that there is a very positive, powerful future that is possible, that genuinely integrates Israel into the region and addresses its most profound security needs to be able to live in peace and genuine security, and also answers the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.