Blinken Stresses Israeli Autonomy in Gaza Conflict Duration; Defends Emergency Arms Sale

By Yoni Weiss

President Yitzchak Herzog meets with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at HaKirya base in Tel Aviv, on Oct. 12. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Speaking with CNN on Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized Israel’s authority in determining the duration and strategy of its ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza. Despite ongoing discussions between the United States and Israel regarding the campaign’s progress and approach to handling Hamas, Blinken reiterated that the ultimate decisions rest within Israel’s purview.

As the conflict stretches into its third month, Blinken highlighted the collaborative dialogue between the U.S. and Israel. He stressed the respect for Israel’s independent choices and decision-making process in addressing the situation and pursuing a resolution with Hamas.

Blinken also expressed concern over the humanitarian impact and civilian casualties in Gaza. He acknowledged Israel’s efforts to minimize civilian harm but noted the distressing outcomes not always aligning with intentions, particularly in civilian protection and humanitarian aid delivery.

Regarding the outset of the war, Blinken condemned the shocking and appalling actions initiated by Hamas on Oct. 7. He criticized the delayed response from international entities and leaders to address the egregious violence witnessed during that period, particularly highlighting the heinous nature of the acts.

Additionally, Blinken defended the emergency sale of nearly 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition to Israel, citing Israel’s ongoing combat with Hamas as the rationale behind bypassing Congress for approval. He emphasized the United States’ commitment to ensuring Israel’s capability to defend itself amidst the war.

The emergency sale, valued at $106.5 million, consists of 13,981 120mm High Explosive Anti-Tank Multi-Purpose with Tracer tank cartridges, complemented by U.S. support, engineering, and logistical aid sourced from the Army inventory.

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