In Israel, Blinken meets Netanyahu after discussions with Herzog, hopes for hostage release to continue

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Tel Aviv [Israel], November 30: US Secretary of State blinken”>Antony Blinken, who arrived in Israel overnight, met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s Office.
US Secretary Blinken is also set to sit in on a meeting of the war cabinet.
Earlier in the day, he also met in Tel Aviv with President Isaac Herzog, soon after the deadly terror attack in Jerusalem.
“This is another example of the situation we’re in, the endless war that we are fighting against terror organisations, especially Hamas, in these very complicated and challenging times,” Herzog said.
He said Israel is “working, praying for and demanding the immediate release of all hostages, and I thank the United States of America for the immense work it is devoting to the release of the hostages.”
Blinken also expressed encouragement upon learning about the release of another American hostage in Gaza. In a statement posted on X, Blinken acknowledged the success of the ceasefire, highlighting its role in both securing the freedom of hostages and facilitating the delivery of essential humanitarian aid to Gaza.
“I am heartened to see another American included among the hostages released in Gaza. The pause in fighting has demonstrated success in securing the freedom of hostages and in delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza – we want to see it continue,” his post on X read.
As Blinken met the Israeli President, the latter updated the US diplomat on the plight of the Bibas family, who were abducted on October 7. “Their whereabouts are unknown to us and we are demanding their immediate release. It should be obvious that little toddlers will be released with their mother and hopefully with a father as soon as possible,” The Times of Israel quoted Herzog as saying.
Herzog also eulogised Henry Kissinger, “who left us peacefully tonight.” “We are big admirers of Kissinger,” he said, adding, “He laid the cornerstone of the peace agreement which was later signed with an Egypt… In our last conversation he ended the call by saying, ‘Mr. President, please know I’ve always loved and admired and supported the State of Israel’. And so I always felt his love and compassion for Israel and his belief in the Jewish state.”
Blinken, in turn, mourned the victims of the Jerusalem terror attack. “My heart goes out to the victims of this attack… we’re thinking of them, we’re thinking of their families, their loved ones, and we mourn their loss just as we mourn the loss of any innocent life.
“From day one, we have been focused on trying to secure the release of hostages from Gaza, from Hamas,” Blinken said, adding, “And we have seen over the last week the very positive developments of hostages coming home and being reunited with their families, and that should continue today. It’s also enabled the increase in humanitarian assistance to go to innocent civilians in Gaza who need it desperately. So this process is producing results. It’s important and we hope that it can continue.”
“At the same time I look forward to detailed conversations with the government of Israel about the way ahead in Gaza. The United States firmly supports Israel and its right to defend itself and to try to ensure that October 7 never happens again,” The Times of Israel quoted Blinken as saying.

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