Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi hosted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Ashkenazi thanked the Secretary of State for the United States’ steadfast support of Israel and its right to defend its citizens from terrorism.
Minister Ashkenazi noted that the United States’ support of Israel, particularly during this recent period, is appreciated by both the government and the people of Israel.
Minister Ashkenazi emphasized Hamas’s responsibility for this recent escalation to his counterpart, as well as the threat that the terrorist organization poses to the security of Israel and its citizens and to the stability of Gaza and the region.
With regards to the Palestinian Arab arena, Foreign Minister Ashkenazi and Secretary of State Blinken decided to establish working groups with the goal of implementing civilian projects in Judea and Samaria, while simultaneously setting out demands of the Palestinians, including ceasing petitions to international institutions and stopping incitement.
With regards to the Gaza Strip, Minister Ashkenazi and Secretary of State Blinken discussed the establishment of a series of mechanisms, and the required parameters, for the rehabilitation of Gaza. Foreign Minister Ashkenazi presented Israel’s position, including Israel’s commitment to the return of the captives and missing persons being held by Hamas, as well as that the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip cannot occur without a joint mechanism for supervision and enforcement that will prevent the strengthening of the Hamas terrorist organization.
The Minister and Secretary of State discussed the special and strategic ties shared between the countries as well as recent developments, including regional matters, most pertinently Iran’s nuclear threat and destabilizing activities in the Middle East.
Together, they also discussed the importance of the normalization agreements as a significant anchor for regional stability, and the need to expand the circle of peace.
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi stated: "The past year has proven that we have partners for peace in the Middle East. I see great importance in strengthening and expanding the existing peaceful relations. I thank the US for their commitment to this task and for strengthening regional security stability.”