A post to X from Secretary of State Antony Blinken in which he talked about expressing support for a ceasefire after Hamas attacks on Israel has been deleted.
It marks the second post that the Biden administration has removed from X since Hamas launched a surprise attack from Gaza, prompting Israel to declare war on the militant group.
“Turkish Foreign Minister [Hakan Fidan] and I spoke further on Hamas’ terrorist attacks on Israel. I encouraged Tükiye’s advocacy for a cease-fire and the release of all hostages held by Hamas immediately,” Blinken said in the now-deleted post on Sunday.
The post elicited some blowback. Among those to critique it was Jonathan Schanzer, a senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who said Blinken was “allowing himself” to be part of a “charade.”
The Biden administration has now deleted two separate posts calling for Israel to stand down to Hamas terrorists pic.twitter.com/tdpeE66FSI
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 9, 2023
In an earlier post that has not been deleted as of press time, Blinken said he and Fidan “discussed Hamas’ attacks on Israel. Israel has the right to defend itself, rescue any hostages, and protect its citizens.”
Another X account tied to the State Department, one for the U.S. Office of Palestinian Affairs, also deleted a post that drew controversy over the weekend.
“We unequivocally condemn the attack of Hamas terrorists and the loss of life that has incurred. We urge all sides to refrain from violence and retaliatory attacks. Terror and violence solve nothing,” the now-deleted post said.
Officials have reported nearly 1,300 people have been killed — including at least nine Americans — and thousands more wounded in Israel and Gaza amid the conflict. Dozens of others are believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas.
President Joe Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday. During that call, according to Axios, Netanyahu said Israeli forces “have to go” into Gaza, and he predicted that there would be a “long and difficult war.”
In a post to X, Biden said he called Netanyahu “to express my full support for the people of Israel in the face of an unprecedented and appalling assault by Hamas terrorists.” Biden also said they would “remain in close contact over the coming days” and declared the United States “will continue to stand with the people of Israel.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) released a statement assailing the Biden administration for creating uncertainty through its State Department channels.
“Instead, this weekend the State Department repeatedly posted statements and summaries calling for premature ceasefires and for Israel to stand down, while other times Biden administration officials said they were not pressuring Israel,” Cruz said. “This ambiguity badly undermines our ally’s campaign against the Iran-controlled terrorists in the Gaza Strip, endangering the safety and security of Israelis and Americans.”