Washington has called on the Jewish state to speed up its operations as international condemnation over its offensive rises
Israel must wrap up its war against Hamas by the end of this year or risk losing Washington’s support for its offensive in Gaza, The Economist has reported, citing sources with knowledge of diplomatic discussions between the two allies.
International condemnation of Israel’s military operation in the densely populated enclave has steadily grown over the past nine weeks.
Several world leaders have echoed concerns from aid groups about a worsening humanitarian crisis in the besieged area, as Israel’s bombardment following Hamas’ October 7 cross-border attack intensified. Israel has claimed that 1,147 of its citizens died in the attack, while about 240 people were kidnapped.
But signs are appearing that Washington’s patience for the offensive is wearing thin, as Palestinian health officials say the death toll in Gaza nears 18,000, most of whom were civilians, according to a report by The Economist on Sunday.
Citing anonymous sources, the outlet reported that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a behind-closed-doors warning during a recent trip to Israel: Finish up by the end of the year, or US support may erode.
Publicly, neither government has referenced any sort of deadline for a conclusion to the military offensive. Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Blinken said that the duration of the war was a “decision for Israel to make.” However, the head US diplomat also admitted discussions had been held with Israeli officials as to how the country was “prosecuting this campaign with Hamas.”
Blinken claimed that Israel had the “intent” to minimize civilian suffering but admitted that “the results” did not always reflect that.
The Economist added that the Biden administration called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to reduce the suffering of Palestinians as much as possible, particularly in southern Gaza. Large numbers of displaced civilians have congregated to the south, where a breakdown in sanitation systems has prompted concerns of an outbreak of disease.
Last week, the US was the only member of the UN Security Council to veto an emergency resolution calling for an emergency ceasefire in Gaza – a move seen as underscoring Washington’s backing of Israel in the face of international condemnation. The UK abstained from the vote.
The US State Department also recently rubber-stamped the supply of 14,000 120mm tank shells to Israel, one of the primary munitions being used by IDF forces in Gaza.