Saudi FM meets Blinken, condemns attacks on civilians in Israel Gaza conflict

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan for talks over the Israel Gaza crisis on Saturday.

Bin Farhan condemned attacks on civilians on both sides of the conflict and stressed the urgency of de-escalating the conflict.

“We need to work together to find a way out of this cycle of violence. It’s something we really really need to focus on. Without a concerted effort to end this constant return to violence, it will always be civilians that suffer first, it will always be civilians on both sides that end up paying the price. So I hope we can find a way to de-escalate the current situation and then hopefully move forward to a more permanent solution. So thank you again for coming Tony and thank you for all your work,” Saudi Foreign Minister said.

Blinken described the killing of 1300 people by Hamas fighters in a deadly cross border assault into Israel a week ago as an act that defied description.

“Hamas is not a representative of the Palestinian people or their legitimate aspirations for the future. Hamas is a terrorist group and its only agenda is to destroy the state of Israel and to murder Jews. And it is important that the entire world see it as such,” Blinken said.

“This is I think an important moment for more clarity when it comes to Hamas. At the same time, as Israel pursues its legitimate right to defending its people and to trying to ensure that this never happens again, it is vitally important that all of us look out for civilians and we are working together to do exactly that. In particular, working on establishing safe areas in Gaza, working on establishing corridors so humanitarian assistance can reach people that need it. None of us want to see suffering by civilians on any side, whether it’s in Israel, whether it’s Gaza, whether it’s anywhere else,” he added.

Blinken is on a seven-country tour of the region in hopes of preventing the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants from spiraling into a bigger war and to help secure the release of Israeli and American hostages held by Hamas.