TEL AVIV — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned israel on Friday that it risks destroying an eventual possibility for peace unless it acts swiftly to improve humanitarian conditions in Gaza for Palestinian civilians as it intensifies its war against Hamas.
In a blunt call for israel to pause military operations in the territory to allow for the immediate and increased delivery of assistance, Blinken said the current situation would drive Palestinians toward further radicalism and effectively end prospects for any eventual resumption of peace talks to end the conflict.
“There will be no partners for peace if they're consumed by humanitarian catastrophe and alienated by any perceived indifference to their plight,” Blinken said, even as the call for a temporary pause without the release by Hamas of Israeli hostages was swiftly rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said Israel would be “going with full steam ahead.”
The comments to reporters in Tel Aviv, following meetings with Netanyahu and other senior officials, amounted to some of the Biden administration's strongest warnings to Israel since the brutal Oct. 7 rampage by Hamas that killed more than 1,400 civilians and soldiers. But the remarks were also tempered by Blinken's continued support for Israel's “right and obligation to defend itself, defend its people and take the steps necessary to try to ensure that this never happens again.”