Red lines slowly being drawn by US on Israel’s actions in Gaza

Red lines slowly being drawn by US on Israel’s actions in Gaza

G7 and US stand by Israel while seeking a ‘pause’; UN backs Gaza death toll veracity; Israel considers whether showing graphic footage will give it more leeway to act.

A divide has emerged between the US and Israel over the future of Gaza after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested in an interview Israel would have responsibility for security in Gaza for an “indefinite period”. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has warned that Israel cannot reoccupy Gaza after the war with Hamas ends.

Mr Blinken also insisted Hamas could not continue to rule there as it risked a repetition of the  October 7 attacks. “Hamas actually has genocidal intentions against the people of Israel. They would like to see it wiped off the map. That’s what’s at stake here,” US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said.

He said there should be no forced displacement, blockade or reduction of territory, and that the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority should govern.

G7 nations meeting in Tokyo released a united statement sought to balance the need to help Palestinians in the besieged enclave with unequivocal criticism of Hamas’s October 7 cross-border attack and support for Israel’s right to self-defence. But the statement adds to pressure on Israel, which previously resisted US calls for a “humanitarian pause.”

While the White House has opened “the possibility of tactical pauses to provide civilians with opportunities to safely depart from areas of ongoing fighting.” Netanyahu has said that there is a possibility for small scale pauses “an hour here, an hour there”.

One month into the Israel-Hamas war, some senior US officials privately say there are aspects of Israel’s military operations they simply cannot stomach defending and administration officials are quietly fuming as the civilian death toll mounts.

An open letter signed by hundreds of US Agency for International Development staffers is urging the administration to call for a ceasefire, something the administration has so far rejected. Meanwhile, 22 Democrats joined Republicans in voting to formally rebuke Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib over her “from the river to the sea” remarks related to Israel and Palestinians.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the death toll in Gaza amid Israel’s war with Hamas demonstrates that something is wrong with Israel’s military operations.

The death toll figures from Gaza have been met with scepticism in some quarters. A White House spokesperson said the Gaza Health ministry was a “front for Hamas,” though did not dispute that thousands of Palestinians, many innocent civilians, had been killed.

The Gazan health ministry published a 212-page report listing the deaths in Gaza since the war began that it blamed on Israel. The list does not distinguish between combatants and non-combatants.

But UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said on Tuesday the organisation’s estimates had closely aligned with those of the ministry in the past, which gave him confidence in the current figures.

UN monitors also said Wednesday that the pace of Palestinian civilians fleeing the combat zone in northern Gaza has picked up as Israel’s air and ground campaign there intensifies. About 15,000 people fled on Tuesday, compared to 5,000 on Monday and 2,000 on Sunday, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The civilians are able to move during a four-hour window set daily by the Israel Defence Forces that assures safe passage from Gaza City and its surroundings to the south. Most of those fleeing are children, the elderly and people with disabilities, the UN agency said. Many arrived on foot with minimal belongings.

In Israel, Netanyahu is reported to be leaning toward widely releasing new footage in order to shock a worldwide audience, boosting Israel’s position internationally and justifying its war against Hamas in Gaza.

The graphic 47-minute film was put together by the IDF Spokesperson’s Office from footage retrieved in large part from video cameras worn by the terrorists, who documented the carnage in real time.

Psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and arts therapists have warned that showing the film — especially in its entirety — is an uncalled-for move that will only deepen Israelis’ and world Jewry’s trauma and newly traumatise many others. At a screening of the film at the Knesset, many members could not make it through the entire film without leaving the room.

Police investigators have been collecting testimony from witnesses to acts of sexual assault and abuse committed by Hamas terrorists during the October 7 attack on Israel’s south. The mission is part of the effort to prosecute the surviving terrorists who are in Israeli custody.

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US warns Israel against reoccupying Gaza after war (BBC)

Biden Asks Netanyahu for Humanitarian Pauses, Discusses Plans for a post-Hamas Gaza (Haaretz)

Inside the angst and anxiety gripping the Biden administration over the Israel-Hamas war (CNN)

UN chief: Gaza death toll suggests Israel’s tactics are ‘clearly wrong’ (Poltico)

White House: IDF likely to have initial presence in Gaza after war (Jerusalem Post)

G7 nations announce a unified stance on Israel-Hamas war after intensive meetings in Tokyo (Associated Press)

Americans divided over Israel response to Hamas attacks, AP-NORC poll shows (Associated Press)

House votes to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib for Israel-Hamas war comments (NPR)

AIPAC vs. The Squad: How the Israel-Gaza War Is Supercharging an Ugly Clash (Haaretz)

‘From the river to the sea’: The slogan that led to Rashida Tlaib’s censure, explained (Times of Israel)

Number of Gazans fleeing to southern Strip rises sharply, UN says (Times of Israel)

UNICEF defends accuracy of Gaza death toll as horror unfolds in ravaged enclave (CNN)

Mental health professionals implore Netanyahu not to show atrocities film to public (Times of Israel)

Israeli Police Collect Eyewitness Testimony of Gang Rape During Hamas Attack (Haaretz)

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