Defending Israel, Blinken recalls that it ‘withdrew from Gaza in 2005’

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

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay during a meeting at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, Tuesday, April 2, 2024. Blinken is in Paris for talks on Ukraine, Gaza and stabilizing Haiti. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla, Pool)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay during a meeting at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, Tuesday, April 2, 2024. Blinken is in Paris for talks on Ukraine, Gaza and stabilizing Haiti. (AP Photo/Thomas Padilla, Pool)

Pressed on whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s prosecution of the war against Hamas is endangering Israel, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken uses a common Israeli talking point, noting that it “withdrew from Gaza in 2005.”

“There have been attacks on Israel by Hamas in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2021, 2023,” Blinken says during an interview with the French network LCI/TF1, adding that the US supports Israel’s right to pursue the terror group but that “how Israel goes about this mission is also important.”

“What we’ve seen with the loss of life — the children, the women, the men who find themselves in the middle of this confrontation — the damage is terrible. At the same time, the fact that humanitarian aid isn’t enough for the people of Gaza — that’s a danger and an immediate necessity,” Blinken says.

He asserts that the US goal is to see the establishment of a Palestinian state, even though that goal remains far off.

“There should be a real agreement between Palestinians and Israelis, not an agreement that is applied unilaterally by other countries,” he clarifies.

“But there also needs to be leadership from the world’s major countries to try and reach this destination,” Blinken adds, pointing to the US effort to broker a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which would have to include “calm in Gaza” and an Israeli commitment to establish a pathway to an eventual Palestinian state.

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