RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The United States and Israel discussed a timetable for reducing intense combat operations in the West Bank. The war against HamasAlthough they agreed that the all-out battle would take months, an envoy said on Friday, amid growing US concern about the rising death toll in Gaza.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the future of the besieged Strip after the war, which could include, according to a senior US official, the return of Palestinian security forces that were expelled from their jobs in Gaza due to the Israeli occupation. agitation In its acquisition in 2007.
US and Israeli officials have been publicly vague about how Gaza would be run if Israel achieves its goal of ending Hamas control — and the idea, floated as one of several, appears to be the first time Washington has offered some details about its vision for security arrangements in the enclave.
Any role for Palestinian security forces in Gaza would provoke strong opposition from Israel, which seeks to do so Maintain an open security presence There it says it will not allow a post-war foothold for the Abbas-led Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank but is deeply unpopular with Palestinians.
In meetings with Israeli leaders on Thursday and Friday, Sullivan A Timeline for completion The intense fighting phase of the war.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant told Sullivan that it would take months to destroy Hamas, but he did not say whether his estimates indicated the current phase of heavy air strikes and ground battles.
“There is no contradiction between saying that the fighting will take months and also saying that different phases will occur at different times during those months, including a transition from high-intensity operations to more targeted operations,” Sullivan said on Friday.
He said that he discussed a timetable with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli war cabinet, and that such talks will continue during the upcoming visit of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The attack he provoked The unprecedented Hamas attack on October 7 On Israel, it has Most areas of northern Gaza were destroyed to the ground This led to the expulsion of 80% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million from their homes. Displaced people crowded into private shelters in the south amid an escalating humanitarian crisis.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has expressed concern about Israel’s failure to limit civilian casualties and its plans for the future of Gaza, but the White House continues to provide loyal support to Israel through arms shipments and diplomatic support.
“I want them to focus on how to save civilian lives,” Biden said Thursday when asked if he wanted Israel to reduce its operations by the end of the month. “Do not stop pursuing Hamas, but be more careful.”
a Hamas’s deadly ambush on Israeli forces The events in Gaza City this week demonstrated the group’s resilience and raised questions about whether Israel can defeat it without wiping out the entire area.
Israel’s air and ground offensive over the past 10 weeks has killed more than 18,700 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. Thousands more are missing and feared dead under the rubble.
Ministry No difference Among the dead civilians and combatants. The latest census did not specify the number of women and minors, but they consistently constitute about two-thirds of those killed in previous statistics.
On Friday morning, communications services, which Telco said on Thursday had been cut due to the ongoing fighting, appeared to be disrupted throughout Gaza.
Israeli air strikes and tank shelling continued overnight and into Friday, including in the southern city of Rafah, part of the shrinking territories in the Gaza Strip. Small Gaza with a high population density Which Israel ordered Palestinian civilians to evacuate. At least one person was killed, according to an Associated Press journalist who saw the body arrive at a local hospital.
The Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV network said that its chief correspondent in Gaza, Wael Dahdouh, was injured in the right arm by shrapnel in a drone strike on a school turned into a shelter in the southern city of Khan Yunis. The network said that Gaza photographer Samer Abu Daqqa was also injured. In October, Al-Dahdouh’s wife, son, daughter and grandson were killed in an Israeli air strike.
Israelis still strongly support the war and see it as necessary to prevent a repeat of what happened on October 7, when Palestinian militants attacked communities across southern Israel, killing about 1,200 people, most of them civilians. About 240 hostages were taken. A total of 116 soldiers were killed in the ground offensive that began on October 27.
The Israeli army confirmed on Friday that the bodies of the three hostages had been recovered. Two of the soldiers were, both 19 years old, and the third was a 28-year-old French-Israeli national who was kidnapped from a music festival.
More than 100 hostages were released, most of them during a ceasefire last month in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
On Friday, Sullivan met with Abbas, who lost control of Gaza when Hamas expelled his security forces in 2007. The power seizure came a year after Hamas defeated Abbas’s Fatah movement in parliamentary elections and rivals failed to form a national unity government.
A senior US official said Sullivan and others discussed the possibility of making those associated with the Palestinian Authority’s security forces before the Hamas takeover serve as a “core” for peacekeeping in Gaza after the war.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with White House ground rules, said this was one of the ideas considered to establish security in Gaza. He added that such talks are taking place with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and regional partners.
The United States has said it eventually wants to see the West Bank and Gaza under a unified Palestinian government, as a precursor to Palestinian statehood — an idea strongly rejected by Netanyahu, who leads a right-wing government that opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Palestinian officials said they would not consider a post-war role in Gaza except in the context of concrete steps supported by the United States toward establishing a Palestinian state.
the The Palestinian Prime Minister told the Associated Press It is time for the United States to deal more decisively with Israel, especially with regard to Washington’s calls for negotiations for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Muhammad Shtayyeh said on Thursday: “Now that the United States has talked the talk, we want Washington to walk the walk.” “If the United States cannot extradite Israel, who can?”
As part of post-war scenarios, Washington also called for this – Activating the Palestinian AuthorityWithout revealing whether such reforms would require personnel changes or general elections, which last took place 17 years ago.
Abbas, 88 years old, is not very popular Poll published on Wednesday Which indicates that nearly 90% of Palestinians want him to resign. Meanwhile, Palestinian support for Hamas has tripled in the West Bank, with a slight increase in Gaza, according to the poll. However, the majority of Palestinians do not support Hamas, according to the poll.
Jobin reported from Rafah, Gaza Strip, and Marwa reported from Beirut. Associated Press journalists Amer Madani in Washington, Julia Frankel in Jerusalem and Elena Bekatoros in Athens contributed.
Complete AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.
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