Saturday, July 20

Live updates on Israel-Hamas war: Blinken visits Israel

Live updates on Israel-Hamas war: Blinken visits Israel

As gaps widen between Israeli and international perceptions of the war against Hamas in Gaza, Israeli leaders are employing different rhetoric when addressing both audiences about how the war will be fought in 2024.

Israeli officials have begun telling international media that their forces are moving to a less intense phase of operations, particularly in northern Gaza, amid growing international concern over the scale of destruction and civilian casualties. in the territory.

But after the comments were published Monday, Israeli leaders sought to reassure the Israeli public that Israel remained committed to a long-term war in Gaza to destroy Hamas, even if its military tactics changed.

Analysts say these messages are not incompatible: the pace of a war can slow without the conflict completely ending. But they said they reflected the Israeli government’s efforts to speak to an international audience in the short term in order to pursue its long-term goals.

On Monday, Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in an interview with the New York Times that the war had entered a new phase, with Israel withdrawing its troops, concentrating on southern regions of Gaza and the reduction in the number of soldiers. Air strikes. Hours earlier, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told the Wall Street Journal that Israel would soon move from “intense maneuvers” to “different types of special operations.”

Then, during his daily Hebrew press briefing Monday evening, Admiral Hagari responded to a question about his interview with The Times by saying that the goal of dismantling Hamas remained in place and that the “semantics” of the entry into war a new phase “does not serve the Israeli public”.

Separately, Israeli media reported that Gallant told fellow right-wing lawmakers in a closed-door meeting that the war would continue “for several more months” and that for that to happen, Israel needed “room to maneuver”. “international maneuver”. Mr. Gallant’s office confirmed these comments.

The comments to international media also appeared to be an attempt to respond to calls from the United States, Israel’s strongest ally, to ease the fighting, and they came hours before US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken lands in Tel Aviv to take part. discussions about the war. The Biden administration has been under pressure to reduce its support for Israel, and Mr. Blinken has previously called on Israel to use more precision in its strikes on Gaza.

In Israel Hayom, a right-wing daily, Yoav Limor, a military commentator, said: “The Israeli government has locked itself into contradictory commitments: the commitments it has made to the Israeli public, claiming that there is no would have no time limit and that the war would continue as long as necessary until victory; and the commitments he made to the world, first and foremost to the Washington administration, asserting that the war was now moving to a new stage of lower intensity warfare.

While a majority of Israelis want to see Hamas destroyed after its brutal October 7 raid on Israel, international public opinion is turning against Israel. More than 23,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the start of the Israeli offensive, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants.

A hearing scheduled for this week at the International Court of Justice in a case brought by South Africa, which accuses Israel of attempted genocide against the Palestinians, adds to the pressure on Israel. Israeli officials have strongly denied the allegation.

“With all of this put together, Israel wants to give the image of ‘OK, we’ve taken the criticism into account, we’ve incorporated the remarks,'” said Alon Pinkas, former consul general of Israel in New York and former consul General of Israel in New York. political commentator, said in an interview.

On the other hand, he added, the Israeli mainstream does not want to hear that the war is coming to an end while Hamas remains active in much of Gaza. Israelis, he added, “understand that very little was accomplished if the idea was to eliminate or eradicate or annihilate or annihilate or overthrow Hamas.”