According to sources, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has told Israeli officials that he expects the war in Gaza to end within a month.
Speaking to officials last week on his final diplomatic visit to Israel, Blinken said the U.S. would continue to support the IDF’s efforts to wipe out Hamas in Gaza.
However, he also warned that given the collateral damage to civilians in the Gaza Strip, President Biden expects the war to be completed within three months of October 7, sources told the Times, giving the IDF until early January to do so to achieve their goals.
The revelation comes as America’s top diplomat made his sharpest public criticism yet of Israel’s war against Hamas in southern Gaza, saying there was a gap between the government’s stated intentions to protect civilians and the rising numbers Sacrifice.
“As we stand here almost a week after this campaign to the south began… it remains essential that Israel places a high priority on protecting civilians,” Blinken said at a news conference after meeting British Foreign Minister David Cameron in Washington on Thursday .
“And there remains a gap between … the intent to protect civilians and the actual results we see on the ground.”
According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, more than 17,170 Palestinians have been killed and 46,000 injured since Israel began bombing Gaza on October 7 in response to a cross-border rampage by Iran-backed Hamas.
According to Israeli figures, 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas attack and 240 people were taken hostage. According to the IDF, a total of 92 Israeli soldiers died in the ground operation.
“As we stand here nearly a week into this campaign to the south … it continues to be imperative that Israel places a high priority on protecting civilians,” Blinken said
Palestinians wounded in Israeli attacks are treated at Nasser Hospital, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, December 8, 2023
A man is seen among the rubble of a building destroyed in an Israeli attack in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on December 7, 2023
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (r) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken shake hands before a meeting in Tel Aviv on November 30, 2023
Smoke rises over Gaza amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from southern Israel, December 8, 2023
Israel says it must destroy the militant Hamas group after its attack on Israel two months ago and is doing everything possible to get civilians out of harm’s way, including warnings of military action.
But the IDF has been widely condemned for what many say is indiscriminate bombing of civilian centers, which has resulted in numerous civilian casualties.
US President Joe Biden held separate telephone conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah on Thursday.
Biden “emphasized the critical need to protect civilians and separate civilians from Hamas, including through corridors that allow people to move safely out of defined areas of hostilities,” the White House said.
Meanwhile, Arab states have renewed their call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, with the United Arab Emirates asking the UN Security Council to vote on a draft resolution on Friday morning.
The United States and its ally Israel reject a ceasefire, saying it would only benefit Hamas. Blinken will meet top diplomats from Arab states, including Egypt, in Washington on Friday.
The draft was amended to state that both “Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law” and that “it calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.”
To adopt a resolution, at least nine yes votes and no veto from the five permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, France or Great Britain – are required. The US does not currently support any further action by the Council.
As pressure mounts on Israel over civilian casualties in its war to destroy Hamas, the Palestinian Authority is working with U.S. officials on a plan to control Gaza after the war ends, Bloomberg News reported.
Citing Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, it said the preferred outcome would be for Hamas to become a junior partner of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and help build a new independent state encompassing the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
“If they (Hamas) are willing to come to an agreement and accept the PLO’s political platform, then there will be room for talks.” “The Palestinians should not be divided,” Shtayyeh said, adding that Israel’s goal , completely defeating Hamas is unrealistic.
An Israeli military helicopter fires a rocket while flying over Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, seen from southern Israel, December 8, 2023
A Palestinian collects belongings from the rubble at the site of Israeli attacks on a house, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, December 8, 2023
Palestinians walk through a house destroyed during an Israeli bombardment in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) and British Foreign Minister David Cameron hold a press conference at the State Department in Washington, DC on December 7, 2023
Smoke rises after an Israeli bombardment in the Gaza Strip, seen from southern Israel, Thursday, December 7, 2023
In a development that should help pave the way for more humanitarian aid to Gaza, Israel agreed to a U.S. request to open the Kerem Shalom border crossing for inspection of trucks and their cargo, a U.S. official said on Thursday .
Egypt, along with the United Nations, is pushing Israel to speed up an inspection process that would require vehicles to travel to Egypt’s border with Israel before returning to Rafah. The number of trucks crossing daily has fallen to fewer than 100, from nearly 200 between November 24th and December 24th. 1 ceasefire, according to the United Nations.
Kerem Shalom lies on Gaza’s southern border with Israel and Egypt, and the crossing carried more than 60% of truckloads heading to Gaza before the war broke out two months ago.
With no end to the fighting in sight, Jon Finer, a senior White House national security adviser, said the United States had not given Israel a firm deadline to end major fighting against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
There are still many “legitimate military targets” in southern Gaza, including “many, if not most” of the Hamas leadership, Finer said at the Aspen Security Forum in Washington.
Meanwhile, the hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza are being held incommunicado, although Israel has asked the Red Cross to arrange visits and check on their welfare.
Two months after the Hamas attack, the start of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah was a celebratory moment for many in Israel.
Idit Ohel, whose son Alon, 22, was kidnapped by Hamas gunmen from an open-air music festival where 364 people were killed, said she hoped for a miracle.
“He doesn’t know it’s Hanukkah.” “I don’t think he knows the days, what’s day and what’s night,” Ohel said. “But he is in our hearts all the time.”
Source : www.dailymail.co.uk