Blinken meets members of Israel's war Cabinet

Blinken meets members of Israel's war Cabinet

Feb 09, 2024

Tel Aviv [Israel], February 9: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's talks in Israel continued on Thursday with a meeting with the country's war Cabinet, amid efforts to broker a temporary ceasefire in Gaza that could allow for the return of hostages held by Hamas.
The top US diplomat, who is on his fifth trip to the Middle East since the war between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement erupted, said at the opening of the meeting that the focus was on the hostages and "the strong desire" both the US and Israel have "to see them returned to their families."
Blinken said he would also inform war Cabinet members Benny Gantz and Gabi Eisenkot - both of whom have held top military posts - about his talks in the region over the past several days, the Israeli broadcaster Kan said in its report on the meeting.
On Wednesday, Blinken had called on Israel to moderate its ground and air campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. He said the massacre Israel suffered at the hands of Hamas and others on October 7 should not be used as a "licence to dehumanize others." But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his government's hard line, saying the only way to get the hostages released was to keep up the major military pressure on Hamas.
Of around 136 hostages still held by Hamas, the military's public estimate is that at most just over 100 are still alive.
Source: Qatar Tribune