Blinken tells Israel it must restrain itself in south Gaza: Leaked remarks

Ahram Online , Saturday 2 Dec 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israel’s war cabinet that it cannot operate in south Gaza the way it has done in the north – a reference to the deadly seven weeks of air bombardment and ground operations – according to leaked remarks reported by Israeli media.

File Photo: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. AP


Blinken’s reported remarks were quoted by Channel 12 news. 

The Biden administration, which has backed Israel’s brutal war, indicated that Israel has weeks, not months, to complete its declared mission in Gaza, the report adds.

Below is the transcription:

Blinken: You can’t 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?

IDF Chief Herzi Halevi: 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: The entire Israeli society is united behind the goal of dismantling Hamas, even if it takes months.

Blinken: I don’t think you have the credit for that.

The secretary also reportedly pressed the cabinet over Israel’s plans for a post-war Gaza.

Blinken: You don’t want the Palestinian Authority on the day after. We understand that. The best way to kill an idea is to bring a better idea. The other states in the region need to know what you are planning.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: As long as I’m sitting in this chair, the Palestinian Authority, which supports, educates and finances terror, will not rule Gaza on the day after Hamas.

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