US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday he would ask Israel to take “concrete steps” to minimize harm to civilians in Gaza as he left on a crisis trip to the Middle East.
“We will be talking about concrete steps that can and should be taken to minimize harm to men, women and children in Gaza,” Blinken told reporters at Andrews Air Force Base as he flew out.
“This is something that the United States is committed to,” he said a day before he will hold his latest meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Blinken reiterated that the United States believes that Israel has “the right and the obligation to defend itself” after Hamas carried out the deadliest attack in the country’s history, which mostly killed civilians.
But in line with a subtle shift in tone by President Joe Biden, Blinken emphasized sorrow over the killings of Palestinians which have outraged much of the Arab world.
“When I see a Palestinian child -- a boy, a girl pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building -- that hits me in the gut as much as seeing a child in Israel or anywhere else,” Blinken said.
“So this is something that we have an obligation to respond to, and we will.