Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Israeli President Isaac Herzog Before Their Meeting – United States Department of State

President Herzog: Good morning, Mr. Secretary. Welcome to Israel. I don’t know if you know what dateline you are on, what hour of the day you are on. You are –

Secretary Blinken: I was hoping you could tell me.

President Herzog: Now you are traveling all over the world. I watched your interview at the World Economic Forum in Riyadh and I want to thank you for your strong support and moral clarity in what you said regarding the beginning of this terrible situation, the war that has been waged on us, the atrocities. And also, of course, the plight of the hostages. We look forward to the immediate return of the hostages. This is and should be the top priority of the international community. I believe that there should be a unanimous decision of the international community that the release of the hostages is a top priority.

And I would add in that regard and in other cases as well that while we are fighting a war to protect our citizens and to bring about a different future in the Middle East, our enemies and other elements are trying to weaken the entire country. Have been. The process using international legal forums, which was established to create a world order that pursues peace and adheres to the values ​​and norms we all believe in in the modern world. In particular I mean the efforts made through the International Criminal Court. Israel has a very strong legal system, a very strong adjudication and law enforcement system, and it has legal steps ranging from the highest officials in the land to any other citizen. We are very proud of this, and the rule of international law regarding complementarity is a fundamental world norm. And so, trying to use the International Criminal Court against Israel, which is fighting terror, is a clear and present danger to democracies and free and peace-loving nations that abide by the norms of international law, and I All colleagues and friends object and reject any such attempts.

Thank you very much and welcome.

Secretary Blinken: Well, thank you, Mr. President. It always feels very, very good to be with you, even in these difficult times. We are committed to getting a ceasefire that brings the hostages home and getting it now, and the only reason that won’t happen is Hamas. An offer is on the table, and as we’ve said, no delays, no excuses. The time is now, and the time has long passed to return the hostages to their families.

At the same time, even as we work with tireless determination to achieve a ceasefire that brings the hostages home, we must also focus on those in Gaza who are suffering in this firestorm perpetrated by Hamas, and So the focus has been on bringing them back. The assistance they need – food, medicine, water, shelter – is also very much on our minds and in the work we are doing. I look forward to discussing all this and much more with you. Thanks for seeing me again this morning.