US shaping Israel’s ground campaign against Hamas – Bloomberg
The US is exerting unprecedented influence over Israel’s plans for a ground campaign against Hamas in Gaza, fearing that a massive attack could result in other regional actors joining the conflict, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing sources.
According to the news outlet, while early into the conflict, Israel promised “coordinated strikes from the air, sea and land” on Hamas; its military later indicated that the ground operation “might be something different from what you think.”
Bloomberg notes that this change in tone came after an unprecedented string of visits to Israel by high-ranking US officials, including President Joe Biden himself.
According to three unnamed senior Israeli officials interviewed by the news agency, the role and influence of the US in the Israel-Hamas conflict are “deeper and more intense than any exerted by Washington in the past.”
While the US reportedly wants to see Hamas’ military infrastructure in Gaza destroyed, it seeks to limit civilian casualties in the Palestinian enclave, which is home to over two million Palestinians. In addition, Washington is concerned that Israel’s ground campaign could draw Hezbollah into the conflict; the Lebanon-based Islamist militant group maintains close ties to Iran, the report noted.
This could potentially open a second front in the conflict, which could throw the entire region into turmoil and derail the White House’s efforts to stabilize the Middle East by promoting peace between Israel and Arab countries, the article says.
While Biden on Friday condemned the Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians and signaled that he would ask the US Congress to approve additional security aid for Israel, he cautioned the Middle Eastern country “not to be blinded by rage.”
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with his country’s service members stationed near Gaza, telling them to “get organized, be ready” for the offensive. “Whoever sees Gaza from afar now, will see it from the inside,” he said.
The conflict between Hamas and Israel erupted on October 7 when the Palestinian militant group launched a surprise missile and ground attack on the country, with hostilities resulting in thousands of dead and injured. In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Israel to be in a state of “war” and vowed retaliation.
According to the latest official data, the fighting has claimed the lives of more than 3,800 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis.