Defense Secretary Austin says U.S., Israel should protect Palestinian civilians
By Richard Brown // Mar 29, 2024

United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has emphasized the "moral imperative" and "shared strategic interest" of both Israel and the United States in safeguarding Palestinian civilians amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Austin conveyed these sentiments during a meeting with Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant at the Pentagon, where they discussed various issues, including the proposed military operation in Rafah, the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and other threats to regional security. (Related: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warns: Israel risks “strategic defeat” if it doesn’t protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza)

Referring to Hamas' incursion into Israel on Oct.  7 as the "worst day in Israel's history," Austin condemned such acts of terror, asserting that no country should endure such threats. He reiterated Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas and emphasized that the U.S. shares Israel's goal of defeating the terrorist group.

Additionally, Austin underscored the U.S.'s commitment to ensuring the safe return of all hostages held by Hamas, stating that Washington "will not rest" until this objective is achieved.

Addressing the increasing civilian casualties in Gaza due to Israel's military campaign against Hamas, Austin emphasized the necessity of protecting Palestinian civilians as both a moral obligation and a strategic imperative.

He expressed concern over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, calling for immediate increases in aid to prevent famine.  Austin highlighted efforts to establish a temporary humanitarian corridor by sea and stressed the importance of expanding aid deliveries by land.

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Austin also reiterated the U.S.'s stance on urging Israel to refrain from launching a major offensive in Rafah, emphasizing the need to prioritize the safety of the more than one million Palestinian civilians that have taken refuge in the southern Gazan city.

The administration of President Joe Biden has been urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to delay such an offensive until a plan for the mass evacuation of civilians in the area has been developed, fearing the potential for a humanitarian disaster.

The meeting between Austin and Gallant, occurring after nearly six months of close cooperation, reaffirmed the United States' unwavering support for Israel's long-term security, according to a statement from the Pentagon.

Relations between U.S., Israel at all-time low

Meanwhile, tensions between the United States and Israel reached a new height following Washington's decision to forego vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution urging an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. This move drew a sharp rebuke from Netanyahu.

The U.S.'s vote to abstain allowed the resolution to pass, marking the first time the UN has successfully passed a ceasefire resolution since the conflict began.

In response, Netanyahu accused the U.S. of "retreating" from its previously held "principled position."

According to a statement from Netanyahu's office, the new resolution calls for a ceasefire without linking it to the release of hostages, which Israel finds regrettable. The decision is seen as a departure from the consistent U.S. stance in the Security Council since the conflict's inception.

The U.S. has previously blocked three UN Security Council resolutions for an immediate ceasefire, including one last month, which it vetoed. However, in the resolution, the U.S. abstained, citing adjustments consistent with its position that any ceasefire must be coupled with a plan for releasing hostages.

Watch this report from Hala Jaber, an investigative journalist who has been reporting the events unfolding in the genocide of Palestinians.

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More related stories:

American Christians mobilizing for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and an end to U.S. arms sales to Israel.

Israel’s indiscriminate bombings of Palestinian civilians causing rapid deterioration of West’s support, Biden warns.

New U.S.-backed United Nations resolution calls for "immediate ceasefire" in Gaza.

Sources include:

TheEpochTimes.com

Independent.co.uk

Brighteon.com



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