US, Israel discuss 'different phase' of war in Gaza.

AFP , Wednesday 27 Dec 2023

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met Tuesday to discuss shifting "to a different phase" of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip with Israel's Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer, a White House official said.

Smoke billows over the northern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment from southern Israel on December 27, 2023. Photo: AFP


The meeting provided an opportunity to talk about steps to improve the humanitarian situation in war-torn Gaza and minimize harm to civilians, according to the official, who did not wish to be named.

It was also meant as a chance to speak on "the transition to a different phase of the war to maximize focus on high-value Hamas targets," the official said, referring to the Palestinian resistance group.

The discussion comes after the UN Security Council agreed last week to a watered-down resolution calling for aid to be delivered to the Gaza Strip "at scale."

Gaza's 2.4 million people are suffering dire shortages of water, food, fuel and medicine, with only limited aid entering.

The bloodiest-ever Gaza war erupted after Hamas-led Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on southern Israel on October 7 and killed 1,140 people, and took 250 captives, of whom 129 remain inside Gaza, according to Israeli figures.

The effort to bring the Israeli captives home was also among the topics on the table at the Sullivan-Dermer meeting.

Since then, Israel launched an extensive aerial bombardment and a siege followed by a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. The campaign has killed at least 20,915 people, 70% of them women and children, some 55,000 have also been wounded, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The Tuesday meeting additionally provided a chance for Israel and the United States to talk about the eventual "governance and security in Gaza, a political horizon for the Palestinian people, and continued work on normalization and integration," the White House official said.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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