Blinken says he will discuss "concrete steps" with Israel on minimizing civilian harm

Secretary of State Antony Blinken

© APA | Secretary of State Antony Blinken

# 02 November 2023 22:30 (UTC +04:00)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will discuss steps Israel “can and should” take to minimize civilian casualties during his upcoming visit to Tel Aviv, APA reports citing CNN.

“[W]e will be talking about concrete steps that can and should be taken to minimize harm to men, women, and children in Gaza, and this is something that the United States is committed to,” Blinken said Thursday.

While the secretary didn't offer any other details, he did reiterate that the topic is on the agenda for the visit. Blinken is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders of the Israeli government, according to the State Department.

“When I see a Palestinian child, a boy or a girl pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building, that hits me in the gut as much as seeing a child in Israel or anywhere else. So this is something that we have an obligation to respond to, and we will,” he said.

Asked if Israel had shown restraint in its offensive in Gaza, Blinken did not offer a yes or no answer, and instead reiterated that Israel has the right to defend itself and the "responsibility to do everything possible to protect civilians."

He said that this was "a crossfire ... of Hamas' making."

Blinken leaves Thursday for a trip to Israel, Jordan, Japan, South Korea and India. He emphasized again on the tarmac ahead of his trip that the US is “determined to deter any escalation.”

Blinken also added that there must be a focus on what comes next.

“We do have to have conversations now about how we can best set the conditions for a durable, sustainable peace, durable, sustainable security for Israelis and Palestinians alike," he said.