March 4, 2024


Israel’s air and floor assault over the previous 10 weeks has killed greater than 18,700 Palestinians, in accordance with the Well being Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza. 1000’s extra are lacking and feared useless beneath the rubble.

Protesters calling for an Israeli ceasefire in Gaza block an intersection in Boston, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023. AP Photograph/Steve LeBlanc

RAMALLAH, West Financial institution (AP) — America agrees with Israel that the combat in opposition to Hamas will take months, however officers are discussing the timetable for scaling again from high-intensity fight to extra exact methods of concentrating on the militant group’s leaders, a high U.S. envoy stated Friday amid rising American unease in regards to the mounting demise toll in Gaza.

U.S. nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan deliberate to speak to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later within the day in regards to the besieged enclave’s postwar future, which, in accordance with a senior U.S. official, may embrace bringing again Palestinian safety forces pushed from their jobs in Gaza by Hamas in its 2007 takeover.

American and Israeli officers have been obscure in public about how Gaza can be run if Israel achieves its purpose of ending Hamas management — and the concept, floated as one among a number of, gave the impression to be the primary time Washington supplied some element on its imaginative and prescient for safety preparations within the enclave.

Any position for Palestinian safety forces in Gaza is certain to elicit sturdy opposition from Israel, which seeks to keep an open-ended safety presence there and says it gained’t permit a postwar foothold for the Abbas-led Palestinian Authority, which administers components of the Israeli-occupied West Financial institution however is deeply unpopular with Palestinians.

In conferences with Israeli leaders on Thursday and Friday, Sullivan mentioned a timetable for winding down the extraordinary fight section of the conflict.

Israeli Protection Minister Yoav Gallant informed Sullivan that it will take months to destroy Hamas, however didn’t say whether or not his estimate referred to the present section of heavy airstrikes and floor battles.

Sullivan stated Friday that “there is no such thing as a contradiction between saying the combat goes to take months and in addition saying that completely different phases will happen at completely different occasions over these months, together with the transition from the high-intensity operations to extra focused operations.”

He stated he mentioned a timeline with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s Battle Cupboard, and that such conversations would proceed throughout an upcoming go to by U.S. Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The offensive, triggered by the unprecedented Oct. 7 Hamas assault on Israel, has flattened a lot of northern Gaza and pushed 80% of Gaza’s inhabitants of two.3 million from their properties. Displaced individuals have squeezed into shelters primarily within the south in a spiraling humanitarian disaster.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has expressed unease over Israel’s failure to scale back civilian casualties and its plans for the way forward for Gaza, however the White Home continues to supply wholehearted assist for Israel with weapons shipments and diplomatic backing.

“I would like them to be targeted on easy methods to save civilian lives,” Biden stated Thursday when requested if he needs Israel to scale down its operations by the top of the month. “Not cease going after Hamas, however be extra cautious.”

A lethal Hamas ambush on Israeli troops in Gaza Metropolis this week confirmed the group’s resilience and known as into query whether or not Israel can defeat it with out wiping out your entire territory.

Israel’s air and floor assault over the previous 10 weeks has killed greater than 18,700 Palestinians, in accordance with the Well being Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza. 1000’s extra are lacking and feared useless beneath the rubble.

The ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths. Its newest depend didn’t specify what number of had been girls and minors, however they’ve persistently made up round two-thirds of the useless in earlier tallies.

On Friday morning, communications companies, which telecommunications supplier Paltel stated Thursday had been minimize attributable to ongoing combating, nonetheless gave the impression to be down throughout Gaza.

Israeli airstrikes and tank shelling continued in a single day and into Friday, together with within the southern metropolis of Rafah, a part of the shrinking areas of tiny, densely populated Gaza to which Palestinian civilians had been informed by Israel to evacuate. At the very least one particular person was killed, in accordance with an Related Press journalist who noticed the physique arriving at a neighborhood hospital.

Israelis stay strongly supportive of the conflict and see it as essential to forestall a repeat of Oct. 7, when Palestinian militants attacked communities throughout southern Israel, killing round 1,200 individuals, largely civilians, and taking some 240 hostage. A complete of 116 troopers have been killed within the floor offensive, which started Oct. 27.

The Israeli navy on Friday confirmed the restoration of the our bodies of three hostages. Two had been troopers, each aged 19, and the third was a 28-year-old twin French-Israeli nationwide kidnapped from a music competition.

Greater than 100 hostages have been freed, most throughout a cease-fire final month in trade for the discharge of 240 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Sullivan was scheduled to satisfy Friday with Abbas, who misplaced management of Gaza when Hamas drove out his safety forces in 2007. The takeover got here a 12 months after Hamas defeated Abbas’ Fatah social gathering in parliament elections and the rivals did not kind a unity authorities.

A senior U.S. official stated that Sullivan and others have mentioned the prospect of getting these related to the Palestinian Authority safety forces earlier than the Hamas takeover function the “nucleus” of postwar peacekeeping in Gaza.

It was one thought of many being thought-about for establishing safety in Gaza, stated the official, who spoke on situation of anonymity according to White Home floor guidelines. He stated such talks had been happening with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and regional companions.

The U.S. has stated it will definitely needs to see the West Financial institution and Gaza underneath a unified Palestinian authorities, as a precursor to Palestinian statehood — an thought soundly rejected by Netanyahu, who leads a right-wing authorities that’s against Palestinian statehood.

The Palestinian prime minister informed The Related Press it’s time for the USA to deal extra firmly with Israel, notably on Washington’s requires postwar negotiations for a two-state answer to the Israeli-Palestinian battle.

“Now that the USA has talked the speak, we would like Washington to stroll the stroll,” Mohammed Shtayyeh stated Thursday. “If the USA can not ship Israel, who can?”

As a part of postwar situations, Washington has additionally known as for revitalizing the Palestinian Authority, with out letting on whether or not such reforms would require personnel adjustments or normal elections, which final happened 17 years in the past.

The 88-year-old Abbas is deeply unpopular, with a ballot printed Wednesday indicating near 90% of Palestinians need him to resign. In the meantime, Palestinian assist for Hamas has tripled within the West Financial institution, with a small uptick in Gaza, in accordance with the ballot. Nonetheless, a majority of Palestinians don’t again Hamas, in accordance with the survey.

Jobain reported from Rafah, Gaza Strip, and Mroue from Beirut. Related Press journalists Aamer Madhani in Washington, Julia Frankel in Jerusalem and Elena Becatoros in Athens contributed.