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US presses Israel to end large-scale ground operation, talks postwar control

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The United States told Israel it wants the country to end its large-scale ground operation and move to more targeted attacks on Hamas. National security adviser Jake Sullivan delivered the message to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, Dec. 14.

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The U.S. and Israel have been discussing a timetable for scaling back Israeli ground operations in their war against Hamas, as U.S. officials continue to express concern over the growing death toll in Gaza.

President Joe Biden warned Netanyahu’s government that it was losing international support because of “indiscriminate bombing” in highly populated areas. On Thursday, the president said he wanted Israel to focus on targeted strikes.

Israel told U.S. officials that the current phase of its offensive against Hamas, which involves heavy airstrikes and a large ground operation, should be finished in two to three weeks.

In a meeting with Sullivan on Thursday, the Israeli defense minister said the war “will last more than several months,” and added that the next phase of operations will involve “targeted raids.”

On Friday, Sullivan downplayed the administration’s differences with Israel concerning war efforts. According to The New York Times, Sullivan told reporters that Israel had made it clear from the start that efforts to root out Hamas would take time and come in phases.

“There’s no contradiction between saying the fight is going to take months and also saying that different phases will take place at different times over those months, including transitioning from the high-intensity operations to more targeted operations,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan added that the White House did not intend to tell Israel what to do.

“I think it’s really important that those conversations take place, first in the spirit of partnership,” Sullivan said. “We’re not here to tell anybody, ‘You must do X, you must do Y.'”

Sullivan also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss Gaza’s postwar future, which could involve bringing back Palestinian security forces that were driven from their jobs in 2007 following a Hamas takeover.

The Biden administration has repeatedly said the Palestinian Authority should have responsibility for governing Gaza when the war is over. Israel has routinely rejected the idea.

Now, according to the Times of Israel, Israel’s security establishment has drawn up proposals for the future governance of Gaza. Officials there favor a multinational peacekeeping force taking over control of the strip, with the U.S., France, and Germany among those involved. Those officials said the prime minister’s views on the proposal are not known.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is facing mounting backlash for its response to the war, including U.S. refusal to call for another cease-fire. The White House and Israeli government said that any new truce would allow Hamas militants to regroup.

Hamas militants killed 1,200 people and kidnapped 200 in their attack on Oct. 7, according to the Israeli military. About half of the hostages have been released, with most of the releases taking place during a week-long ceasefire.

The Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza reported that nearly 19,000 people have been killed during the conflict.

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[Ryan Robertson]
THE U-S TOLD ISRAEL IT WANTS THE COUNTRY TO END ITS LARGE SCALE GROUND CAMPAIGN IN GAZA AND MOVE TO MORE TARGETED ATTACKS ON HAMAS. 

NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER JAKE SULLIVAN DELIVERED THE MESSAGE TO ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU THURSDAY. 

THE U-S AND ISRAEL HAVE BEEN DISCUSSING A TIMETABLE FOR SCALING BACK ISRAELI GROUND OPERATIONS IN THEIR WAR AGAINST HAMAS.AS U-S OFFICIALS CONTINUE TO EXPRESS CONCERN OVER THE GROWING DEATH TOLL IN GAZA.

PRESIDENT BIDEN WARNED NETANYAHU’S GOVERNMENT THIS WEEK THAT IT WAS LOSING INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT BECAUSE OF “INDISCRIMINATE BOMBING” IN HIGHLY-POPULATED AREAS.

AND ON THURSDAY, THE PRESIDENT SAID HE WANTED ISRAEL TO FOCUS ON TARGETED STRIKES. 

BIDEN: “I WANT THEM TO BE MORE FOCUSED ON HOW TO SAVE CIVILIAN LIVES, NOT STOP GOING AFTER HAMAS, BUT TO BE MORE CAREFUL.”

[Ryan Robertson]

ISRAELIS TOLD U-S OFFICIALS THE CURRENT PHASE OF THEIR OFFENSIVE AGAINST HAMAS, INVOLVING HEAVY AIRSTRIKES AND A LARGE GROUND OPERATION, SHOULD BE FINISHED IN TWO-TO-THREE WEEKS.

IN A MEETING THURSDAY WITH SULLIVAN, THE ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER SAID THE WAR “WILL LAST MORE THAN SEVERAL MONTHS,” SAYING THAT THE NEXT PHASE OF OPERATIONS WILL INVOLVE TARGETED RAIDS.” 

FRIDAY, SULLIVAN PLAYED DOWN THE ADMINISTRATION’S DIFFERENCES WITH ISRAEL CONCERNING THE WAR EFFORTS. 

TELLING REPORTERS ISRAEL HAD MADE IT CLEAR FROM THE START THAT EFFORTS TO ROOT OUT HAMAS WOULD TAKE TIME AND WOULD COME IN PHASES.

[Jake Sullivan]

“There’s no contradiction between saying the fight is going to take months and also saying that different phases will take place at different times over those months, including the transition from the high-intensity operations to more targeted operations.”

[Ryan Robertson]

SULLIVAN WENT ON TO SAY THAT THE WHITE HOUSE DID NOT INTEND TO TELL ISRAEL WHAT TO DO. 

[Jake Sullivan]

“I think it’s really important that those conversations take place, first in the spirit of partnership. We’re not here to tell anybody, ‘You must do X, you must do Y.’

[Ryan Robertson]

SULLIVAN ALSO MET WITH PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS TO DISCUSS GAZA’S POSTWAR FUTURE, WHICH COULD INVOLVE BRINGING BACK PALESTINIAN SECURITY FORCES DRIVEN FROM THEIR JOBS IN 2007 FOLLOWING A HAMAS TAKEOVER.

THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION HAS REPEATEDLY SAID THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY SHOULD HAVE RESPONSIBILITY FOR GOVERNING GAZA WHEN THE WAR IS OVER. 

AN IDEA ISRAEL HAS ROUTINELY REJECTED. NOW, ACCORDING TO THE TIMES OF ISRAEL, ISRAEL’S SECURITY ESTABLISHMENT HAS DRAWN UP PROPOSALS FOR THE FUTURE GOVERNANCE OF GAZA. OFFICIALS THERE FAVOR A MULTINATIONAL PEACEKEEPING FORCE TAKING OVERALL CONTROL OF THE STRIP, WITH THE U-S, FRANCE, AND GERMANY AMONG THOSE INVOLVED.

, THOSE OFFICIALS SAID THE PRIME MINISTER’S VIEWS ON THE PROPOSAL ARE NOT KNOWN.

THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS FACING MOUNTING BACKLASH FOR ITS RESPONSE TO THE WAR–

INCLUDING THE U-S’S REFUSAL TO CALL FOR A NEW CEASEFIRE.

THE WHITE HOUSE AND ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SAY THAT ANY NEW TRUCE WOULD ALLOW HAMAS MILITANTS TO REGROUP.

HAMAS MILITANTS KILLED 12-HUNDRED PEOPLE AND KIDNAPPED 200 IN THEIR OCTOBER 7TH ATTACK, ACCORDING TO THE ISRAELI MILITARY.

ABOUT HALF OF THE HOSTAGES HAVE BEEN RELEASED, MOST OF THEM DURING A WEEK-LONG CEASEFIRE.

THE HAMAS-CONTROLLED HEALTH MINISTRY IN GAZA SAYS NEARLY 19-THOUSAND PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED DURING THE CONFLICT.