US officials outline measures for Israel to reduce civilian casualties | ET REALITY

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Americans say Israel’s forceful response to the Hamas attack on October 7, in which more than 1,400 people were killed and more than 240 taken hostage, reflects the importance it places on restoring deterrence against adversary attacks in the region. . The Israeli military’s aura of power was shaken by the Oct. 7 attack, officials say.

The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Hamas-controlled Gaza, where the Health Ministry says more than 9,400 people have died, has sparked outrage in the region, in the United States and around the world, prompting the Biden administration to be more vocal in saying that Israel needs to do more to protect civilians.

Blinken urged Israel to agree to a series of pauses in fighting to facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza and the departure of foreign nationals from the enclave, but Netanyahu rejected the idea, saying any pause would depend on the release of all hostages. Israelis.

In the first two weeks of the war, about 90 percent of the munitions Israel dropped on Gaza were satellite-guided bombs weighing between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds, according to a senior U.S. military official. The rest were small diameter 250 pound bombs.

Asked about the US request to use smaller bombs, an Israel Defense Forces spokesman, Maj. Nir Dinar, said: “We do not comment on munitions or our conversations with allies.”

Israel used at least two 2,000-pound bombs during an airstrike Tuesday on Jabaliya, a densely populated area just north of Gaza City, according to experts and a New York Times analysis of satellite images, photographs and videos. .

US military officials say the smaller bombs are much better suited to Gaza’s dense urban environments. But over the years Israel has amassed larger stockpiles of bombs, intended primarily to attack hardened Hezbollah military positions in Lebanon.

The United States is now trying to send more smaller bombs to Israel, the senior military official said. If the United States can bring those smaller munitions to Israel, U.S. officials hope Israel will use them to mitigate the risk to civilians.

The United States has also increased the amount of intelligence it is collecting in Gaza: American drones fly over the enclave, searching for hostages held by Hamas and other groups, and American military satellites have been redirected to monitor the enclave. The United States is also using aircraft on the two aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean to help gather additional intelligence, including electronic interceptions.

While the United States has increased the amount of intelligence it shares with Israel, American officials stressed that they are not helping Israel choose targets for attacks.

American officials believe that the less judicious Israel is and the higher the Palestinian death toll, the more quickly pressure will build on its leaders to end the military operation. A more targeted campaign, U.S. officials tell them, could last longer and cause more sustained damage to Hamas’s military wing.

“We are doing everything possible to destroy only Hamas, without harming civilians,” said Iddo Ben-Anat, deputy brigade commander who led part of the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

Arab leaders met with Blinken in Amman, Jordan, on Saturday and demanded an immediate ceasefire, increasing pressure on the Biden administration to do more to curb the Israeli campaign.

But Blinken publicly rejected the idea, saying: “In our view, a ceasefire now would simply leave Hamas in place and be able to regroup and repeat what it did on October 7.”

Democratic lawmakers and terrorism experts have said that the higher the number of civilian casualties, the greater the resentment that will build up in Gaza, resentment that Hamas can use to drum up more support.

Rep. Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat and Iraq War veteran, said the United States’ biggest mistake in that conflict was trying to provide “military solutions to fundamentally political problems.”

“Israel is not going to win its war against Hamas, which it has every right to fight, by military means alone,” Moulton said. “And often the wrong military means, such as bombs that kill too many civilians, make the political objective more difficult to achieve.”

At the press conference in Tel Aviv, Blinken appeared to indirectly acknowledge that risk, arguing that while it was necessary to defeat Hamas “physically,” the international community needed to ensure that Hamas did not gain more followers in the process.

Blinken said Hamas must be fought not only with military power, but also with “a better future, with a better vision” for the Palestinian people.

“Because in the absence of that, even after Hamas, those who sing the siren song of nihilism will find open ears,” Blinken said.

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