U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that he can identify opportunities to build better relations in the region after the war. His comments were seen as a hint that Saudi Arabi was keeping the door open to peace with Israel, despite suspending the process to normalize ties, since the outbreak of the war.
Blinken who arrived to Israel after a visit to Riyadh met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a meeting with President Issac Herzog and incoming Foreign Minister Israel Katz.
The secretary told his Israeli counterpart that he knows of the efforts Katz had made over the years to forge better ties in the Middle East and added that he believed there were real opportunities.
Katz said that only after Hamas is defeated and Hezbollah deterred would Israelis be able to return its hostages from captivity and allow those who were displaced, to return to their homes near the southern and northern borders.
Families of hostages protested outside a Jerusalem hotel while Blinken and Herzog met, calling for the U.S. to use all its weight to bring about the release of those held captive by Hamas in Gaza.
"We call on the secretary and demand of the U.S. to intervene and save the lives of our loved ones. The Israeli people support a hostage release deal at any cost, even if it means stopping the war," said Yifat Kalderon. "Our families were abandoned on October 7 and are abandoned again everyday that they are in Hamas captivity. The United States has influence but the responsibility for the lives of the hostages is in the hands of Israel's government that can save them before there will be no one to save."