update deskIsrael at War

Blinken: Israel’s ‘job No. 1’ is protecting, aiding Gazans

The top American diplomat also noted the importance of Israel defending its borders and dealing with the threat posed by Hamas.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani at the State Department in Washington, D.C. on March 5, 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani at the State Department in Washington, D.C. on March 5, 2024. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that protecting and aiding residents of Gaza is Israel’s primary mission as it wages war against the Hamas terrorist group.

“We look to the government of Israel to make sure this is a priority. Protecting civilians, getting people the assistance they need—that has to be job No. 1, even as they do what is necessary to defend the country and to deal with the threat posed by Hamas,” the top American diplomat told reporters in Washington after a meeting with his international counterparts on Gaza.

The foreign ministers from Britain, Cyprus, the European Union, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates spoke with Blinken about the initiative underway to establish a temporary pier off the Gaza coast, announced by U.S. President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress last week.

Hamas is still holding 134 of the 253 Israelis it abducted during its bloody Oct. 7 assault on the northwestern Negev. Their safe return is one of the three goals set forth by the Israeli War Cabinet—the other two being the destruction of Hamas and ensuring that Gaza can never again threaten Israel.

Concern has been mounting in Washington and European capitals about the safety of noncombatants during an Israeli offensive to defeat the final four Hamas battalions concentrated in Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, consisting of roughly 3,000 fighters, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated on Tuesday is essential to winning the war.

“To win this war, we must destroy the remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah. If not, Hamas will regroup, rearm and reconquer Gaza and then we’re back to square one. And that’s an intolerable threat that we cannot accept,” the premier stressed.

Jerusalem rejects accusations that the Israel Defense Forces is not doing enough to protect Gaza’s civilian population and facilitate humanitarian aid into the Strip, of which Israel claims Hamas hijacks upwards of 60%.

The Israeli military is piloting a program to deliver aid directly into northern Gaza to bypass Hamas, and will be providing security for the American effort to deliver aid via the Mediterranean Sea.

Six trucks from the World Food Programme (WFP) delivering aid directly entered the northern Gaza Strip early on Tuesday via the 96th Gate along the security fence after being inspected at Kerem Shalom, according to the army, who facilitated the entry.

The IDF also said on Thursday that for the first time, it was preparing to facilitate the entry of Gaza aid via the sea. A ship carrying nearly 200 tons of food for Gaza will arrive from Cyprus as part of a pilot program to provide humanitarian aid to the enclave via the Mediterranean Sea.

The ship is carrying humanitarian aid from the U.S.-based World Central Kitchen in a project funded by the United Arab Emirates. Israel inspected the shipment at the port of Larnaca before setting sail on Tuesday.

“The delivery of the aid was facilitated after all the equipment on the ship underwent a comprehensive security check and was accompanied by Israeli officials to ensure that humanitarian aid alone reaches the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said.

Israel has also coordinated multinational efforts to deliver aid to Gaza via the air.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates