Blinken, speaking alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the United States would “work to ensure Hamas does not benefit” from the aid, further details of which will be announced later on Tuesday.
Blinken’s meeting with Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials marked the first leg of a trip to the Middle East that will take him to Israel, the West Bank, Egypt and Jordan.
The tour follows the worst violence in years between Israel and Hamas. Israeli strikes during the recent conflict killed at least 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, according to Hamas health officials. At least 12 people in Israel, including two children, have been killed by gunfire from Palestinian militants in Gaza, according to the IDF and emergency services.
“The losses are often reduced to numbers. But behind every number is a human being – a daughter, a son, a father, a mother, a grandparent, a best friend. And as the Talmud teaches, to lose a life is to lose the whole world, whether that life is Palestinian or Israeli, ”Blinken said.
Blinken said he and Netanyahu had a detailed discussion of Israel’s security needs, including resupplying the Iron Dome air defense system with rocket interceptors.
Blinken also spoke of the right of Israelis and Palestinians, who, he said, “also deserve to live in safety, to enjoy equal measures of freedom, opportunity and democracy, to be treated with dignity ”, but he did not specifically mention both – state solution or suggest that comprehensive peace negotiations were imminent.
Netanyahu used the meeting to urge the United States not to revert to the Iran nuclear deal known as the JCPOA. He said the deal would allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, and said Israel reserves the right to defend itself.
In response, Blinken only said that Washington would “continue to consult” with Israel as indirect talks between Iran and the United States continued in Vienna, Austria.
Blinken was due to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh later Tuesday. According to the schedule shared by the State Department, he will then meet with leaders of Palestinian civil society.
Last week, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken would meet with “his Israeli, Palestinian and regional counterparts” to “discuss recovery efforts and work together to build a better future for the Israelis and the Palestinians ”.