SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good morning.  On Wednesday, President Biden will visit Israel.  He’s coming here at a critical moment for Israel, for the region, and for the world.  And he’s coming here to do the following.

First, the President will reaffirm the United States’ solidarity with Israel and our ironclad commitment to its security.  President Biden will again make clear, as he’s done unequivocally since Hamas’s slaughter of more than 1,400 people, including at least 30 Americans, that Israel has the right and indeed the duty to defend its people from Hamas and other terrorists and to prevent future attacks.  The President will hear from Israel what it needs to defend its people as we continue to work with Congress to meet those needs.

Second, President Biden will underscore our crystal-clear message to any actor, state or non-state, trying to take advantage of this crisis to attack Israel:  Don’t.  To that end, he’s deployed two aircraft carrier groups and other military assets to the region.

Third, the President will continue to coordinate closely with our Israeli partners to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas – including men, women, small children, Holocaust survivors, and American citizens – as an indispensable humanitarian effort.

Fourth, President Biden will receive a comprehensive brief on Israel’s war aims and strategy.

Fifth, the President will hear from Israel how it will conduct its operations in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and enables humanitarian assistance to flow to civilians in Gaza in a way that does not benefit Hamas.

To that end, today, and at our request, the United States and Israel have agreed to develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza – and them alone – including the possibility of creating areas to help keep civilians our of harm’s way.  It is critical that aid begin flowing into Gaza as soon as possible.

We share Israel’s concern that Hamas may seize or destroy aid entering Gaza or otherwise preventing it from reaching the people who need it.  If Hamas in any way blocks humanitarian assistance from reaching civilians, including by seizing the aid itself, we’ll be the first to condemn it and we will work to prevent it from happening again.

We welcome the Government of Israel’s commitment to work on this plan.  The President very much looks forward to discussing it further when he’s here on Wednesday.

Thanks very much.