The Biden administration is advocating for Israel to adopt a more restrained approach in its ongoing conflict with Hamas, highlighting concerns over the high civilian death toll in the Gaza Strip. This stance comes as the international community grows increasingly alarmed by the escalating human cost of the conflict.
Escalating Conflict and Humanitarian Crisis
With over 18,000 casualties in Gaza in less than three months, the situation has sparked a significant international outcry. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Israel will continue its military operations until Hamas is completely defeated.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant echoed this sentiment, indicating that the conflict would last "more than several months." Amidst the ongoing conflict, CNN provided a rare insight into the conditions within a field hospital in southern Gaza.
Medical professionals there have raised alarms about the dire consequences should the health system collapse under the strain of the conflict.
US-Israeli Dynamics and Regional Developments
The relationship between the US and Israel is undergoing a period of tension, particularly regarding Israel's prosecution of the war.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met with Netanyahu, conveying the Biden administration's desire for Israel to move towards a more targeted military strategy, focusing on reducing civilian casualties. President Joe Biden himself emphasized the importance of saving civilian lives.
On Capitol Hill, while there is a stall in approving emergency aid for Israel, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen is introducing a resolution condemning Hamas’ use of violence and rape as a weapon of war even though there is no evidence for those crimes.
The Gaza death toll, as reported by the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry, stands at over 18,600 since October 7. While western media cannot independently verify this number, the IDF has acknowledged striking over 22,000 targets in Gaza since the conflict's start.
In the West Bank, Sullivan will continue his diplomatic efforts with a visit to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Concurrently, the UK has announced a ban on extremist Israeli settlers entering the country, a step aligned with calls for Israel to address violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. The IDF has recently completed a military operation in the city of Jenin, resulting in casualties on both sides.