White House: ‘Added burden’ on Israel to account for non-combatants in southern Gaza

John Kirby, the US National Security Council spokesman speaks during the daily briefing at he White House in Washington, on November 27, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)
John Kirby, the US National Security Council spokesman speaks during the daily briefing at he White House in Washington, on November 27, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has told Israel that it must work to avoid “significant further displacement” of Palestinian civilians in southern Gaza if it renews its ground campaign aimed at eradicating the Hamas terror group, senior US officials say.

Separately, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby says the Israelis have been receptive when US officials have raised the issue.

The Democratic administration, seeking to avoid more large-scale civilian casualties or mass displacement like that seen before the current temporary pause in the fighting, underscored to the Israelis that they must operate with far greater precision in southern Gaza than they did in the north, say officials who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the White House.

Amid mounting international and domestic pressure about the rising Palestinian death toll, the White House has begun to put greater pressure on Israel that the manner of the coming campaign must be “carefully thought through,” according to one of the officials.

Kirby, tells reporters separately, “Now you have an added population of hundreds of thousands more in the south that you didn’t have before (the Israelis) moved into Gaza City.”

“And so it’s even all that more of an added burden on Israel to make sure that as they start to plan for operations in the south, whatever that looks like, that they have properly accounted for…the extra innocent life that is now in south Gaza.”

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