Blinken says the United States has not ruled out withholding further military aid from Israel

The United States has not ruled out withholding further military support for Israel's campaign against Hamas should Israel undertake a major attack on Rafah, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on Sunday.

“If Israel launches this major military operation in Rafah, then there are certain systems that we will not support and provide for that operation,” Blinken said on CBS' “Face the Nation.” He didn't elaborate.

Last week, the White House imposed a delay in the delivery of 3,500 bombs over fears of potential harm to civilians in Rafah, where many Gazans have sought refuge since fighting began seven months ago. Blinken said these are the only weapons the U.S. has retained “at this time.”

Two days after the State Department sent a report to Congress raising “substantial questions” about Israel's efforts to protect civilians in Gaza, Blinken was cautious in criticizing Israel's response to the Hamas-led attacks on October 7.

The report raised the possibility that Israel may have violated international law, but avoided drawing conclusions about specific incidents. Blinken reiterated this point Sunday and told “Face the Nation” that Israel has institutions to investigate, evaluate and “self-correct.”

In an appearance on NBC's “Meet the Press,” Blinken echoed the report's findings and highlighted Hamas's responsibility for starting the conflict and the battlefield challenges its tactics pose to protecting civilians .

“Based on the totality of the harm that has been done to the children, to the women, to the men caught in the Hamas crossfire, it is reasonable to conclude that there are cases in which Israel has acted in ways that are not consistent with international norms. humanitarian law,” she said.

He added that Israeli forces are operating in a “complex military environment,” with “an enemy intentionally inserting itself among civilians hiding under and inside schools, mosques, apartment blocks.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *