Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly told the Palestinian Authority it could run Gaza after the war
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pushed for Israel to reduce civilian casualties by using “smaller bombs” during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
During meetings with Arab leaders and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas at the weekend, Blinken boasted that he had outlined “concrete steps” to Netanyahu that would reduce civilian casualties in Gaza. However, he stopped short of publicly revealing the nature of those steps.
Unnamed US officials told the Times that they included not just using smaller bombs, but gathering more intelligence on the location of Hamas’ command and control networks, He also advocated using ground troops to separate civilian population centers from Hamas strongholds, as well as improving the targeting of Hamas leaders.
On Friday, Washington reportedly demanded that Israel explain the “thinking and process” behind Tuesday’s devastating airstrikes on Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp, one of the most densely populated sites in an enclave that is itself one of the most densely populated areas on Earth.
The Israel Defense Forces flattened a section of the camp with what experts say were multiple 2,000-pound US-made bombs, claiming to have killed a Hamas commander and “scores” of militants. Gaza officials reported at least 195 Palestinians were killed in the strikes and more than 400 wounded, the majority women and children.
According to Politico, officials urged Israel to use “precision targeting” and a “more surgical” approach in order to avoid undue harm to civilians in the future. The US is hoping that by sending smaller 250-pound bombs to Israel, it can discourage the IDF from using the larger munitions with their horrific collateral damage.
Netanyahu was said to have “partially” heeded the advice, but vowed to continue with “full force” until the hostages taken by Hamas were released and has repeatedly dismissed any suggestion of a ceasefire.
While Blinken himself has rejected the idea of a ceasefire, claiming it would give Hamas a chance to regroup, he reportedly told Abbas on Sunday that he envisions the Palestinian Authority “playing a central role” in post-war Gaza and promised to step up aid deliveries. Abbas said he would only take power as part of a “comprehensive political solution” to the overarching Israel-Palestine conflict, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
Denouncing the bombardment of Gaza as a “genocidal war,” he implored Blinken “to immediately stop [Israel] from committing such crimes.”
At least 10,022 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel’s declaration of war on Hamas on October 7, over a third of them children, Gaza’s Ministry of Health revealed on Monday. Thousands more are believed to be buried beneath the rubble after Israeli airstrikes decimated the northern half of the enclave.