From Israel: “The Unmitigated Gall of Antony Blinken!!”

Last Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid a visit to Israel, his fifth since October 7.  

Credit: Mark Schiefelbein /AFP

He made several stops – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and the PA – prior to heading for Israel.  Before he had even arrived, he requested that a private meeting with Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi be arranged for him when he got here. That inappropriate request was denied but provided more than an inkling of the degree to which he hoped to be involved (that is, to meddle).  

The meetings he did hold – with the War Cabinet, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Gallant (as well as with opposition head Yair Lapid) –  were extensive.  When discussions ended, the secretary and Netanyahu failed to appear together for a joint press conference, which is common practice: this was a signal that all had not gone smoothly.  This picture of Netanyahu and Blinken with faces somber suggests a similar conclusion.

Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO


You can see Secretary Blinken’s full comments at his press conference here:


But I want to focus first on one particular statement he made:

Israelis were dehumanized in the most horrific way on October 7th. The hostages have been dehumanized every day since. But that cannot be a license to dehumanize others.”

What??  Dehumanize others?? Here we see his gall.  

We have lost some of our precious soldiers because we have taken actions to minimize civilian casualties. Actions that no other army takes. One example: So that they would be able to flee from the theater of battle before we began, we let civilians know where we would be acting next – thereby surrendering the element of surprise and allowing the enemy to prepare for our offensive.  No one else does this.  We have even helped the civilians move out of harm’s way and will be doing so again.

We have permitted increased amounts of humanitarian aid to go into Gaza, even though 60% of it is taken by Hamas, making our enemy stronger.


Former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren responded with shock to Blinken’s statement:

When Secretary of State Blinken accuses Israel—inaccurately, unfairly, and libelously—of dehumanizing Palestinians, he dehumanizes us and contributes to the delegitimization of Israel and the demonization of Jews worldwide.” (I will have more about the delegitimization of Israel below.)


Credit: Facebook

There are those who maintain that we should not criticize the US, which has acted as a friend in the course of our war with Hamas.  Oren addressed this, as well:

“Thank you, Secretary Blinken, for resupplying us with ammunition and standing up for our right to self-defense, but without legitimacy we will be hard pressed to use that ammo or exercise that right. Dehumanizing us endangers our security and possibly our existence.”  (Emphasis added)


Let us circle back, then, to another aspect of Blinken’s statement:

“The overwhelming majority of people in Gaza had nothing to do with the attacks of October 7th, and the families in Gaza whose survival depends on deliveries of aid from Israel are just like our families. They’re mothers and fathers, sons and daughters – want to earn a decent living, send their kids to school, have a normal life. That’s who they are; that’s what they want. And we cannot, we must not lose sight of that. We cannot, we must not lose sight of our common humanity.”

I find this description of the civilians of Gaza, which paints them as no different from Israelis, to be  highly offensive.  I would never say that there are no innocent Gazan civilians, but I know enough about their behavior to be certain that we are not like them, thank Heaven.  


There is one particular scenario that I have not been able to erase from my mind:  There was an Israeli girl raped and then killed on October 7.  Her naked body was then brought into Gaza.  People cheered to see her condition and spat upon her.  By any chance, were some of the mothers and fathers who Blinken tells us just want to earn a living and send their kids to school among them?

There are a number of testimonies from Israelis who survived the massacre, testimonies of their treatment at the hands of civilians on October 7: Civilians rushed across the border from Gaza along with members of Hamas, assisting in the murder and mayhem.  

And there are testimonies from hostages who were in Gaza in the days after and subsequently made it out. Mia Schem, for example, said after her release from captivity, “I experienced hell. Everyone there are terrorists… there are no innocent civilians, not one. [Innocent civilians] don’t exist.”



What then is going on?  We are being squeezed, pushed to end the war prematurely.  That would mean Hamas would be around to attack yet another day.  This apparently does not concern Biden, or Blinken, as long as the progressives in the US are reassured that the government is not siding with Israel.


In a press conference last week Biden said, “I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response [by Israel] in the Gaza Strip has been over the top.”

The US is now going to condition aid to Israel on submission of a report providing proof that international human rights laws were not violated in Gaza.  Israel has a deadline of 45 days for submitting this report that must demonstrate “adherence to international law, including, as applicable, international human rights law and international humanitarian law.” 


White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has indicated that a memo released by the White House addressing this forthcoming requirement that a report be submitted “emerged in part because of our discussions with members of Congress.”

This is a reference to a memo sent to Biden by the Progressives of Congress, notably Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), pictured – who identifies as Palestinian-American – requesting an assessment of the State Department’s policies regarding security assistance to Israel. What we are seeing then is the growing (disproportionate) influence of members of the “Squad” who are blatantly anti-Israel.

Credit: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/AP

In November, calling Netanyahu a “genocidal maniac,” Tlaib accused Biden of supporting “the genocide of the Palestinian people.”           

Now – no surprise! – she is focused on the Rafah area:

“Over 1.5 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering in Rafah, and now they are being threatened with attacks. There is nowhere left for them to go. When will it be enough for [Biden] to end support for Netanyahu’s genocide?”  (Emphasis added)


Unfortunately, Biden seems to be listening.  He has declared his opposition to an IDF operation in Rafah, which is at the border with Egypt, because of the risk of civilian damage.

Declared National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby, “Any major military operation in Rafah at this time, under these circumstances, with more than a million – probably more like a million and a half – Palestinians who are seeking refuge and have been seeking refuge in Rafah without due consideration for their safety would be a disaster, and we would not support it.”


An operation in Rafah is essential for completing our goals of defeating Hamas.  While we have had significant success and have taken out 18 battalions, there are still six active Hamas battalions operating in the Rafah area, adjacent to Egypt.  

Prime Minister Netanyahu has now said unequivocally that we will go in: “Victory is within reach. We’re going to do it. We’re going to get the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah, which is the last bastion, but we’re going to do it.” 

He ordered the IDF to come up with a detailed plan for moving out the civilians who had fled south. You see, Kirby spoke about an operation “without due consideration” for the safety of civilians, thereby making a regrettable (and erroneous) assumption.  

Said Netanyahu, undercutting the American complaint: “In this, I agree with the Americans.  We are going to do it while providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave.

“We have worked out a detailed plan to do so. And that’s what we have done up to now. We are not cavalier about this. This is part of our war effort, to get civilians out of harm’s way. It’s part of Hamas’s effort to keep them in harm’s way.”  (Emphasis added)

See a video with an explanation in English by Netanyahu:


Credit: Sky News

The plan is to move the civilians north into spaces that have been cleared.

Egypt remains adamant about not allowing any Gazans into the Sinai, even though doing this would provide a temporary solution.  The Egyptians have stationed bulldozers on their side of the border and are making threats with regard to the peace treaty with Israel.


We are being squeezed from so many directions, my friends.

Saudi Arabia (surely with US encouragement) has announced that there will be no normalization with Israel unless there is agreement on a Palestinian state established along the Green Line, which means eastern Jerusalem would be Palestine’s capital.  In their dreams.  It’s time for the Saudis to think about the advantages to them of normalization with Israel.


And then there was the recent offer advanced by Hamas for releasing the hostages in three stages over the course of months.  No point in parsing all of the details: in essence, it called for a final truce at the last stage, reconstruction of Gaza, full withdrawal of Israel from Gaza, and the release of large numbers of terrorists in our prisons, including some with life sentences.

Netanyahu, who then as well declared that we are in this to win, called the proposal “delusional.”

Other parties, including Blinken, indicated that some of the proposal was excessive but that there was still reason to be optimistic – Blinken said the proposal “created space” for something to be agreed upon.

Right…They are hoping, oh how they are hoping, that a ceasefire can be negotiated before Israel goes into Rafah and wins the war.  Biden has made it clear he would want that ceasefire to become permanent.

There are reports that Egypt has sent a message to Hamas indicating they had two weeks to come up with a new proposal or the IDF would be in Rafah.


I thought an observation by Michael Oren was particularly pertinent:  The more the US comes down on Israel to stop fighting because of civilian deaths, the more motivated Hamas will be to increase to the number of civilian deaths to encourage the US to be even tougher on Israel.


We are going to win this.  Because of the determination of our soldiers and our government and the will of our people. 

But this is a tough, tough time, my friends.  I cannot pretend otherwise.  It’s not easy standing against much of the world, yet we are doing it.  

I want to note here how splendidly Prime Minister Netanyahu is coming through.  He knows we must win, and he is determined to see it through.  Time is of the essence: He recognizes that we don’t have unlimited time before the world closes in on us – probably a couple of months at most.  

Here I want to say, Kol Hakavod! to Bibi Netanyahu.  Hold tight, please!


The prime minister had a 45-minute phone conversation with Biden today, Sunday, during which they discussed our plans for Rafah.  It had a more pleasant tone than recent exchanges. Do we give Bibi credit here for adopting the right tone – a willingness to share plans?



The IDF has uncovered a subterranean data center — complete with an electrical room, industrial battery power banks and living quarters for Hamas terrorists operating the computer servers — built  under a location where Israel did not consider looking at first: beneath the Gaza headquarters of UNRWA.  

Credit: Emanuel Fabian/Times of Israel       

“IDF officials believe Hamas used the server farm for intelligence gathering, data processing and communications. Hard drives and some of the computers were taken to Israel to be investigated by intelligence authorities before the tunnel system was demolished in a large explosion.”            


There is no way that the insistence of UNRWA officials that they weren’t aware of this is credible.


What has brightened my day is the knowledge that spring is coming.  On Friday, I saw the first kalaniot, red poppies, along the roadside where I was going.

And today, just blocks from my home in Jerusalem, I saw the first shekediah, almond tree, in bloom. This tree is the earliest.  And this is just the beginning.


Keep praying to Heaven for Israel, my friends.  Pray for the strength and wisdom of our leaders, for the safety of our boys, and for the rescue of our hostages.  Pray with a heart filled with hope.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.