Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday “we need to do more” to protect civilians in Gaza after deadly Israeli strikes have killed around 9,000 people since early October, when Israel launched a major war against Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Blinken told reporters at a press conference in Tel Aviv that the U.S. was committed to working with Israel to minimize civilian deaths, describing how he has been moved by photos of suffering in Gaza.
“I’ve seen images to of Palestinian children, young boys and girls pulled from the wreckage of buildings,” Blinken said. “When I see that, when I look into their eyes, through the TV screen, I see my own children.”
But Blinken also recounted the horrors of Oct. 7, when Hamas militants killed 1,400 people in Israel, saying it was “shocking” that the slaughter had “receded so quickly in the memories of so many.”
Amid Israel’s retaliatory attacks, Blinken said Hamas uses civilians “monstrously” as human shields and does not care “one iota” about its people.
“But civilians should not suffer the consequences for its inhumanity and its brutality,” the secretary of state said.
Blinken said the U.S. has been working with Israel to minimize civilian deaths and that Washington has been “clear” that it is important for Israel to conduct its campaign to defeat Hamas by following the laws of war.