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14 May, 2024 04:13

Total victory for Israel ‘unlikely’ – US State Department

Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell has expressed doubt that the IDF is capable of completely eradicating Hamas
Total victory for Israel ‘unlikely’ – US State Department

The US does not believe Israel can decisively triumph over Hamas in Gaza, Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell has said. The comments come as fighting between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Palestinian militant group entered its eighth month last week, with West Jerusalem refusing to walk away from its pledge to destroy Hamas. 

“I think in some respects, we are struggling over what the theory of victory is. Sometimes when we listen closely to Israeli leaders, they talked mostly about the idea of some sort of sweeping victory on the battlefield, a total victory,” Campbell said at the NATO Youth Summit in Miami, Florida on Monday. “I don’t think we believe that that is likely or possible,” he said.

He acknowledged the “undeniable tensions” between Washington and West Jerusalem over Israel’s ongoing assault on Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza which is overcrowded with refugees who fled the northern part of the Palestinian enclave in accordance with the Israeli Army’s evacuation instructions.

President Joe Biden believes the operation will lead to a surge in civilian casualties and more refugees, Campbell stressed. “The president has been clear that he is deeply uncomfortable with that.”

Campbell’s words echoed earlier statements from his boss, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has expressed doubt that Israel can completely eliminate Hamas in Gaza. He suggested that even if Israel succeeds in entirely occupying the Palestinian enclave, it will be retaken by the militants once the IDF leaves.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet have so far ignored the calls for an immediate ceasefire, insisting that the Jewish state must neutralize the threat from Hamas for good. “We will achieve our goals – we will hit Hamas, we will hit Hezbollah, and we will achieve security,” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday as the IDF continued to advance on Rafah, despite the warnings from the UN that the bombardment and street battles in the densely populated urban area would lead to a “slaughter” of civilians.

The IDF has rejected the accusations of indiscriminately targeting civilians and said that around 300,000 Palestinians have evacuated from Rafah to a designated “humanitarian zone” in southern Gaza.

More than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the start of the Israeli bombing campaign and ground invasion, according to the local authorities.

The current round of fighting between Israel and Hamas was triggered by the October 7 surprise raid by the militants into Israeli territory, which left some 1,200 people dead. Hamas had also taken over 200 hostages, some of whom were subsequently released as part of prisoner exchanges.

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