U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israeli leaders that it lacks “credit” to defeat Hamas.
The Times of Israel quoted Blinken as saying Israel cannot “operate in southern Gaza in the way you did in the north. There are two million Palestinians there. You need to evacuate fewer people from their homes, be more accurate in the attacks, not hit UN facilities, and ensure that there are enough protected areas [for civilians]. And if not? Then not to attack where there is a civilian population. What is your system of operation?”
Israel Defense Forces Chief Herzi Halevi responded, “We follow a number of principles — proportionality, distinction, and the laws of war. There were instances where we attacked on the basis of those principles, and instances where we decided not to attack, because we waited for a better opportunity.”
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant added, “The entire Israeli society is united behind the goal of dismantling Hamas, even if it takes months.”
Blinken stated that he did not think Israel has the “credit for that.”
It is unknown what Blinken meant in using the term “credit.”
Earlier this week, White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said the United States does not “support southern operations, unless or until the Israelis can show that they’ve accounted for all the internally displaced people of Gaza.”
Kirby emphasized, however, that Israel has a “right and a responsibility to eliminate this terrorist threat.”