U.S. urges humanitarian pause as support for Israel wanes

Officials informed on Blinken talks in Israel said there was no U.S. pressure on Israel; military chief says Israeli offensive less forceful than advice given by Americans

U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday responded "yes" when asked by reporters if there was progress made in the matter of a humanitarian pause in the fighting in Gaza. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israeli officials that a humanitarian would help the U.S. convince Arab leaders that a ceasefire was not called for at the present. Washington understands that the war will be long and by allowing for such pauses, Israel would be able to buy valuable time to exhaust negotiations on the release of hostages.
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Since the start of the war, Blinken discussed two possible options with Israeli leaders. The first was to take advantage of the shock and horror experienced by many in the world at the atrocities committed by Hamas in its attack, by a quick and violent offensive that would cause massive civilian casualties. The second option was for a longer war in which Israel would bee seen as making real efforts to avoid hurting civilians, so that it would retain the support of the U.S. and the international community.
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מחנה פליטים מע'אזי עזה
מחנה פליטים מע'אזי עזה
Aftermath of IDF bombing in Gaza
(Photo: Mohammed Salem / Reuters)
Officials in Washington said a long war with many civilian deaths presents the administration with a moral and political problem that humanitarian pauses would perhaps solve.
Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said that had the military taken the advice of the U.S. advisors who arrived in Israel after the October attack, the offensive would have been much more forceful and that Israel was American positions as they were taken into account and that the offensive was far less forceful than originally planned, by way of explaining that Israel was making real efforts to prevent collateral damage.
Officials who had knowledge of the discussions with Blinken said the U.S. was not pressuring Israel and was in fact very supportive and was asking for Israel's assistance in combating the public opinion that was beginning to shift away from the Israeli position. "This is a war that will last a year and not one minute less," the officials said. "This is just the beginning."
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אנתוני בלינקן
אנתוני בלינקן
Antony Blinken
(Photo: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters Pool)
In his press conference on Friday, Blinken said the U.S. offered Israel the advice to minimize civilian casualties and discussed concrete steps to do so.
In a report quoting administration officials, CNN said Biden told the Israeli leaders that the images of women and children being pulled out of rubble in the wake of Israeli attacks, would prompt strong criticism from the international community, unless Israel takes meaningful steps to avoid harm to civilians.
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