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Netanyahu rules out cease-fire as Secretary of State urges Israel to do more to protect Palestinian civilians

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited Israel for the fourth time since war with Hamas began, once again reiterated support to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but also urged him to take steps to protect Palestinian civilians.

Edited By: Shashwat Bhandari @ShashBhandari New Delhi Published on: November 03, 2023 22:14 IST
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary
Image Source : PTI Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Right)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday vowed to press ahead in Gaza and ruled out cease-fire until Hamas frees hostages as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged the nation to do more to protect Palestinian civilians as it fights Hamas, AP reported.

Netanyahu spoke shortly after meeting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who urged Israel to temporary pause its offensive to improve humanitarian conditions in Gaza.

Netanyahu in a statement said Israel is continuing with “all of its power” and “refuses a temporary cease-fire that doesn't include a return of our hostages”.

'Only Israel's best  friends can...': Antony Blinken 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited Israel for the fourth time ever since its war with Hamas began, said, "As long as the United States stands, Israel will never stand alone. Today, in my fourth visit to Israel since October 7, I reiterated that in all my discussions with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Herzog, the Security Cabinet, I reiterated and made clear our support for Israel's right to defend itself, indeed, its obligation to defend itself...We're working with Congress now, to provide for Israel's defense, as well as for urgent humanitarian needs in Gaza. This right to self-defence, indeed, this obligation to self-defence, belongs to every nation. No country could or should tolerate the slaughter of innocents."

"We've provided Israel advice that only the best of friends can offer on how to minimize civilian deaths while still achieving its objectives of finding and finishing Hamas terrorists and their infrastructure of violence. Today, I spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu and other senior officials about concrete steps to do that. President Biden has consistently stressed the need for Israel to operate according to international humanitarian law. I also emphasize that the protection of civilians must take place not just in Gaza, but also in the West Bank, where incitement and extremist violence against Palestinians must be stopped and perpetrators held accountable. Third, we need to substantially and immediately increase the sustained flow of humanitarian assistance into Gaza and getting American citizens and other foreign nationals out of Gaza," Blinken said.

Hamas kidnapped some 240 people in its bloody October 7 cross-border attack that triggered the Israel-Hamas war.

The attack killed some 1,400 people, while over 9,000 people have been killed since Israel began striking Gaza the same day, according to Palestinian health officials.

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