US says ceasefire in Israel war would only benefit Hamas | ET REALITY


The United States on Tuesday rejected growing calls to support a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas because such a move would only benefit Hamas, a White House spokesman said.

Spokesman John F. Kirby said the administration supported pauses in the conflict to allow the flow of humanitarian aid. But he said civilian casualties were almost inevitable as Israel tries to defeat Hamas in Gaza.

“We are going to continue to ensure that Israel has the tools and capabilities it needs to defend itself,” Kirby said. “We’re going to continue to try to get that humanitarian assistance in and we’re going to continue to try to get the hostages and the people out of Gaza appropriately.”

Kirby added: “A ceasefire, at this point, really only benefits Hamas.”

“It’s ugly and it’s going to be complicated, and innocent civilians are going to be hurt in the future,” he said. The United States, she added, had not discussed any red lines with Israel.

American and Israeli officials have consistently rejected calls for a ceasefire, insisting that Israel must be given time to root out Hamas. But calls to end the fighting are growing louder.

On Tuesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a humanitarian ceasefire in a speech to the UN Security Council. Guterres said it was important to recognize that the Hamas attacks “did not occur in a vacuum” and that Palestinians had been subjected to 56 years of “suffocating occupation.”

“The grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify Hamas’s heinous attacks,” he said. “And these heinous attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”

In recent weeks, President Biden has faced pressure from members of his own party in Congressas well as progressive Jewish groups, who organized an anti-war protest at the Capitol.

The war broke out after Hamas launched attacks inside Israel’s borders on October 7, killing 1,400 people. Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry said more than 5,700 people, nearly half of them children, had been killed since Israel began its response to the attack. The figure cannot be independently verified.

Israel agreed, under pressure, to ceasefires in past conflicts with Gaza, including in 2012, after Israel similarly threatened an invasion and deployed ground forces to the territory’s border. However, unlike then, Israeli leaders in this case have set the goal of the total destruction of Hamas, making it difficult to back down with limited results.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken told the Security Council that humanitarian pauses “must be considered” to allow food, water and other needs to reach Gaza and civilians to safety.

“There is no hierarchy when it comes to protecting civilian life,” he said. “Civilians are civilians.”

Although Blinken did not specify their duration, such pauses would presumably involve a very brief interruption in combat, well short of a typical ceasefire, which can last days, weeks or indefinitely.

“Israel has to do everything it can to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Blinken said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Freezing things where they are now would allow Hamas to stay where they are and repeat what they have done in the future. No country could accept that.”

The UN agency that helps the Palestinians, UNRWA, has warned that the region is running out of fuel, which would especially affect hospitals that operate generators. Kirby said the United States would continue working to bring fuel to Gaza, but added that Israel had legitimate concerns that Hamas could break out and use it for military purposes.

Biden admitted Tuesday that he was not reaching civilians fast enough.

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