US sets Israel start of 2024 to end Gaza ground attacks: reports
The US has given Israel until the start of next year to end its military operations in their current capacity in the Gaza Strip, media reports said on Tuesday evening, despite Washington's wholehearted support for the war which has killed over 16,000 Palestinians.
The Biden administration marked the beginning of 2024 as a target date for ending Israel’s military campaign, despite a recent expansion in ground operations, Al-Monitor reported.
Washington has been forthright in its backing of Israel during the war, despite the wholesale destruction and indiscriminate killing of civilians, with hospitals, refugee camps, and schools in Gaza targeted.
Al-Monitor said that the US had not set a deadline for Israel, but rather a target, adding that the US expected Israel to end its full-scale ground invasion and switch to "more focused efforts to bring down Hamas."
Israel’s military said Tuesday evening that it had encircled Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. It comes weeks after it began its ground invasion of the enclave, which initially targeted the north.
Israel has vowed to annihilate the Palestinian group Hamas which controls Gaza.
Thousands of children have been killed by Israel’s ferocious war on Gaza.
The timeframe set by the US will coincide with presidential primaries, as President Joe Biden seeks re-election next year, according to Israeli broadcaster Kan 11.
Is the US really pressuring Israel to limit Gaza civilian casualties?https://t.co/v7674ku9gH— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) December 4, 2023
Biden and his team want to avoid harming the 81-year-old president’s image during his election campaign, the TV channel said, after expressing unwavering support for Israel.
Therefore, the US is pushing Israel to wrap up in a matter of weeks and not months, added Kan 11.
There are international calls for Israeli government officials to stand trial for genocide in Gaza.
US officials also told American news channel CNN that they expected the current phase of the ground invasion in the southern Gaza Strip to last several weeks "before Israel transitions, possibly by January, to a lower-level intensity, hyper-localised strategy that narrowly targets" specific leaders and militants in Hamas.
"Current US assessments...show that Israel simply cannot maintain its level of high-intensity operations indefinitely" in Gaza, said the CNN report.
Top US officials had urged Israel to avoid heavy civilian casualties and further displacement in southern Gaza before the current phase of its ground invasion began.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said last month Israel had weeks before international support for its war began to wane.
Despite the warnings, the US has reiterated that it stood firm on supplying Israel with the arms it needs to fight Hamas.