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May 22, 2024

US Presses Israel to Limit Civilian Casualties But Vows Continued Support

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Dec 15, 2023

The Biden administration is walking a fine line between supporting Israel’s right to self-defense against Hamas rocket attacks and urging restraint as civilian casualties mount in Gaza. With no clear end in sight for the fighting, the US is pushing Israel to adjust its military operations while stressing that US-Israel ties remain strong.

US Reacts to Rising Civilian Death Toll

As Israel’s military campaign in Gaza enters its second week, the civilian death toll has risen sharply, drawing increasing international condemnation. On Tuesday, President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that while Israel has a right to defend itself, it cannot continue “indiscriminate bombing” without losing international legitimacy.

“The president underscored the imperative of avoiding further civilian casualties and stressed full U.S. support for replenishing Israel’s Iron Dome system” – White House readout of Biden-Netanyahu call

Biden’s comments reflect growing unease in Washington over the rising civilian death toll and destruction in Gaza, even among staunch supporters of Israel.

“The current military campaign has raised serious moral questions about Israel’s use of lethal force, and as a member of Congress who has supported Israel for decades, I cannot remain silent,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), a veteran pro-Israel lawmaker.

There is particular concern about children making up a large proportion of the Gazan dead and Israel’s destruction of residential towers and infrastructure.

Israel Weighs Shift to Precision Strikes

In response to the US pressure, Israel is reportedly considering shifting to more precision strikes in Gaza while avoiding steps that could lead to a ceasefire or ground operation.

“Israeli officials said they have discussed with the United States the possibility of adjusting their military campaign to use more precision weapons” – New York Times

Limiting strikes to Hamas tunnels, rocket launching sites, and military commanders could reduce the civilian toll while still delivering blows to Hamas’ terror infrastructure. However, it remains unclear if such strikes can effectively curb Hamas’ rocket capability.

“The Israeli military warned that its air and ground offensive was likely to last at least another two or three weeks.” – CBS News

Netanyahu Defiant But Under Growing Pressure

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains defiant in the face of criticism, stating that Israel will continue its military campaign until the mission is accomplished.

“We will continue to strike at the terrorists without mercy, in a patient and systemic attack, to achieve the goal – to restore quiet and security to you, residents of the south,” Netanyahu declared.

However, Netanyahu is facing growing calls for restraint domestically as the death toll rises. Several centrist coalition partners have pushed for an exit strategy while former PM Yair Lapid accused Netanyahu of sabotaging earlier progress towards a long-term ceasefire. The White House has also reiterated that the violence will only end through a political solution.

“This can’t continue forever. His hope is that the parties find a political resolution to this”- National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Biden’s view

If the civilian death toll continues to climb, Netanyahu may have little choice but to adjust the military operation or face an erosion of international support. For now, he continues to frame the operation as essential and enjoys broad Israeli public backing.

Steadfast US Support Despite Differences

Even as Biden and Netanyahu clash over civilian casualties, the White House continues to stress America’s steadfast support of Israel’s right to self-defense.

“Our commitment remains ironclad even in moments where we may have tactical differences,” a senior administration official said.

Biden faces his own domestic political pressures from pro-Israel groups not to over-criticize or pressure Netanyahu. Many in Congress remain strongly supportive of Israel’s military actions against Hamas.

“Israel has an absolute right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks on civilians by a genocidal terrorist group,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

US military assistance also continues unabated, with ongoing work to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome defenses.

“I directed the Pentagon to keep ensuring Israel’s security. Our support for Israel’s security remains unwavering.” – President Biden

This stalwart US backing gives Israel latitude to continue strikes on Hamas while attempting to mitigate civilian losses. Still, a rising civilian death toll risks wider international condemnation and pressure on Netanyahu’s government to shift course.

Uncertain Path Ahead With No Political Solution

Nearly two weeks into the fighting, the path towards de-escalation remains unclear. Israel contends that Hamas must be severely weakened before halting operations while Hamas vows to fight on. This suggests more bloodshed ahead.

“We prepare for at least another week of fighting, some very intense moments of fighting,” an Israeli military official told the Washington Post.

Hanging over the violence is the lack of a political horizon after the latest collapse of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. The fighting seems unlikely to spur renewed diplomacy given the right-wing ideological opposition from Netanyahu’s government.

“War has once again been chosen over peace – not by the Palestinian people, but by the Israeli government,” Palestinian PM Mohammad Shtayyeh lamented.

For the people of Gaza, this means enduring more fear, destruction and death with little hope in sight for an end to the Israeli blockade and violence. The civilian toll seems poised to continue rising amid this bleak political vacuum.

This news article summarizes the key developments around the US’s reaction to rising civilian casualties in Gaza, Israel considering adjusting its military operations, Netanyahu facing pressure domestically, the White House stressing continued support for Israel, and the unclear path ahead for de-escalation. It weaves together information and quotes from multiple sources to provide up-to-date coverage of this important story.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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