U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at a press conference, during his visit to Israel, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Tel Aviv, Israel November 3, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Pool (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Tel Aviv — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday issued a strong message after a day of meetings with Israeli leaders in Tel Aviv, declaring, “we need to do more to protect Palestinian civilians.”

In some of his most forceful comments to date, the top US diplomat said that “civilians should not suffer the consequences for (Hamas’) inhumanity and its brutality.”

Still, Blinken continued to offer support for Israel’s “right” and “obligation” to defend itself after the brutal October 7 Hamas attacks.

The top US diplomat, who appeared visibly shaken while speaking to the press, described seeing new graphic images and videos of the attacks, calling it “striking” and “shocking” that the brutality of the attack “has receded so quickly in the memories of so many.”

Blinken met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog, and the war cabinet on Friday in Tel Aviv.

They discussed the need for continued humanitarian aid to reach Gaza and efforts to get hostages freed from Hamas.

“We believe that each of these efforts would be facilitated by humanitarian pauses,” Blinken said.

However, sources who spoke to CNN said Israeli officials rejected the idea of a pause in fighting without the release of hostages first.

As reported by CNN