U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke again with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday. The U.S. president and Israeli prime minister have talked four times since the Hamas terrorist attacks on Oct. 7.
Netanyahu thanked Biden “for his powerful words of support, following their previous conversation yesterday, and for his unequivocal support for the State of Israel,” according to a readout of the call from Israel’s Government Press Office.
Biden and Harris discussed “ongoing U.S. support for Israel as Israel defends itself and protects its people,” according to a White House readout. “The leaders agreed to stay in regular contact in the face of an unprecedented and appalling assault by Hamas terrorists.”
“This has brought to the surface scars of antisemitism and genocide,” Biden said after the phone call, explaining why he was late to an event, per the pool report. “There’s no excuse for terrorism. We are committed to the safety and security of Israel and the Jewish people.”
Biden also spoke with President Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, of the United Arab Emirates, on Wednesday. “The president stressed his condemnation of Hamas’s terror and his warning against anyone who might seek to exploit the current situation,” per a White House readout. “The two leaders also discussed the importance of ensuring humanitarian assistance reaches those in need.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland that he was flying to Israel “with a very simple and clear message” from Biden and the American people.
“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,” he said.
In Israel, Blinken plans to meet with Netanyahu and with President Isaac Herzog, as well as other senior Israeli officials and with the staff of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem “which is doing terrific work during these difficult days.”
“We’re determined to make sure that Israel gets everything it needs to defend itself and provide for the security of its people. Already, significant military assistance requested by Israel is on the way,” the secretary said.
Blinken also brings a message to would-be agitators in the region who might consider attacking Israel (“That message is: Don’t”) and plans to work closely with Jerusalem to help secure the release of Americans being held captive in Gaza.
“We’re very focused on our own people, our own citizens. We lost 22 Americans; that number could still go up. It probably will,” he said.
“At the same time, we have a number of Americans who remain unaccounted; we are working very closely with the government of Israel to determine their whereabouts, and if they have been taken hostage by Hamas, to work to secure their release,” Blinken added.