US urges Israel to spare civilians in GazaBreaking

October 14, 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Israel to minimize civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip. Also, while defending Israel right to respond to what he termed unconscionable attacks by Hamas, Blinken emphasized the need to protect innocent Palestinians during his visit to Tel Aviv. After a visit to Tel Aviv, Blinken, currently on a six-nation tour of Arab countries, addressed the recent breach of Israel southern border by Hamas militants on October 7, resulting in the shocking loss of over 1,300 lives, including children, the elderly, and attendees of a music festival. But Blinken said that Israel was within its rights after the unconscionable attacks by Hamas. What Israel is doing is not retaliation. What Israel is doing is defending the lives of its people. Any country, faced with what Israel has suffered, would likely do the same thing. Despite acknowledging Israel right to respond, Blinken urged restraint in the face of the ongoing conflict that has claimed at least 1,799 lives in Gaza.

We have urged the Israelis to use every possible precaution to avoid harm to civilians, Blinken told a news conference in Qatar.We recognise many Palestinian families in Gaza are suffering through no fault of their own and that Palestinian civilians have lost their lives. During his visit, Blinken praised Qatar for its urgency in negotiating the release of an estimated 150 hostages held by Hamas. However, he expressed concerns about Qatar close ties with teh group, cautioning about the presence of the group leader Ismail Haniyeh in Doha. There can be no more business as usual with Hamas -- murdering babies, burning families to death, taking little children as hostages, Blinken said. Qatar  Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani has however defended the presence of the Hamas office, saying it was meant for communication. As the situation escalates, Blinken discussed strategies to protect civilians in Gaza and addressed Israel call for more than a million people to evacuate ahead of a potential ground invasion.

A US official said Israel agreed with Blinken in Tel Aviv on  the need to establish some safe areas where civilians could relocate, be safe from Israel legitimate security operations. The Israelis are committed to it,  the US official told reporters on condition of anonymity on Blinken plane. US officials, however, shifted from earlier plans to facilitate Gazans fleeing to neighbouring Egypt, opting instead for the establishment of safe areas within Gaza. Blinken diplomatic mission included consultations with King Abdullah II in Amman and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, who has been praised for efforts to maintain calm in the West Bank. The Jordanian king has called for humanitarian corridors" to move relief items into Gaza and de-escalate the situation, a statement from the royal court said. The crisis should not be spread to neighbouring countries and exacerbate the refugee issue," the king is said to have told Blinken. Blinken  tour also included Bahrain, where he met with Prime Minister and Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan (INP)