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Secretary Antony J. Blinken At a Press Availability | Tel Aviv - 7 Feb. 2024 |

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The people of Israel have sacrificed enormously to forge this nation and to defend it.  They'll ultimately decide the right path to take, and whether they're ready to make difficult choices necessary to realize the vision of the long-elusive prospect of true peace and true security.  As a true friend of Israel, as the country that has always been first to its side - whether that was May 14th, 1948, or October 7th, 2023 - we will always offer our best advice on the choices before this country, especially the ones that matter the most.

Thank you.  Happy to take some questions.

MR MILLER:  The first question goes to Zolan Kanno-Youngs with The New York Times.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for the question.  Just have a couple for you here.  I know that you said there's still room for agreement in terms of the negotiations over the release of hostages, but the prime minister after you spoke with him pretty bluntly dismissed Hamas's response, describing it even as ludicrous.  I just want to clarify, is this response, are these negotiations DOA at this point?  And what specifically did the prime minister object to in that response?

Also, the prime minister shortly after you met with him made clear that Israeli troops will be moving deeper into Rafah.  Will the United States simply stand by as this action is pursued, even with 1 million Palestinians - more than a million Palestinians being held - are in Rafah, seemingly with nowhere to go?

And if I may, Congress is now moving ahead with a bill that would pair aid for Ukraine with aid for Israel.  Would the administration endorse any potential package that once again prohibits UNRWA funding?  Thank you.



'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Thu Feb 8th, 2024 at 09:43:03 PM EST
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