ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 143

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White House says US will back Israel when Gaza op resumes, wants further extension of truce

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, on November 30, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)
US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, on November 30, 2023. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP)

The United States will support Israel militarily whenever Jerusalem decides to resume its offensive in Gaza, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says.

“We continue to believe that Israel has a right and responsibility to go after Hamas. They have said very clearly that when these pauses are over, they intend to go back at it. As they make that decision, they’ll continue to find support from the United States in terms of the tools and capabilities, the weapons systems that they need as well as the advice and the perspectives that we can offer in terms of urban warfare,” Kirby says during a press briefing, again alluding to US concerns regarding mounting Palestinian civilian casualties and the need for the IDF to operate in a more calculated manner in southern Gaza.

“We have been very consistent and clear with our Israeli counterparts that we do not support a move to the south unless or until they have adequately accounted for the protection of innocent human life, civilian life in southern Gaza, with the understanding that there’s a whole heck of a lot more innocent civilians in southern Gaza than there were a week or two ago… What we’re urging Israel to do is to make sure there’s appropriate accounting for that and additional safety measures in place,” Kirby says, reiterating the message stressed by the Biden administration over the past several weeks.

Kirby clarifies that the US supports additional extensions to the ongoing humanitarian pause, which is currently in its seventh day. However, he says the US does not support a permanent ceasefire, which Washington has warned would leave Hamas as a threat to Israel.

Asked whether the US considers today’s deadly terror attack in Jerusalem claimed by Hamas to be a violation of the truce, Kirby surmises that it wasn’t while saying the shooting is a reminder of the kind of threat that Israel faces.

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