US expects Israel-Palestine conflict to move to 'lower intensity phase', says Blinken

The remarks come amidst global outrage over the soaring Palestinian civilian casualties resulting from the intensification of aerial bombardments and ground operations by the IDF in the Gaza Strip

During an end-of-year press conference, US secretary of state Antony Blinken called for Israel to shift towards more targeted operations and minimising harm to civilians.  (photo: IANS)
During an end-of-year press conference, US secretary of state Antony Blinken called for Israel to shift towards more targeted operations and minimising harm to civilians. (photo: IANS)
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IANS

 The US expects to see the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas "move to a lower intensity phase," the country's top diplomat said.

"It's clear that the conflict will move and needs to move to a lower intensity phase," US secretary of state Antony Blinken said on Wednesday, 20 December during an end-of-year press conference at the State Department.

He added that it is Washington's expectation and willingness that Israeli forces "shift to more targetted operations, with a smaller number of forces, that's really focused in on dealing with the leadership of Hamas, the tunnel network, and a few other critical things".

"It is vitally important how Israel conducts its operations," he said.

"Again, focus on protecting civilians, minimising harm to them, maximising assistance getting to them."

Blinken's remarks came amid growing outrage around the world -- and to some extent within the US -- over the soaring Palestinian civilian deaths resulting from the intensification of aerial bombardments and ground operations by the Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip following the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians, Xinhua news agency reported.

Asked by a reporter whether the Joe Biden administration has any intent to rethink its diplomatic strategy in ways that will change the dynamics of a series of concurring conflicts still unfolding around the world, Blinken came to the administration's defence, taking the conflict in Gaza as an example and complaining about having heard "virtually no one saying, demanding of Hamas -- that it stop hiding behind civilians, that it lay down its arms, that it surrender".

Earlier on Wednesday, Biden was asked by the press corps accompanying him on a trip in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to comment on a grim milestone of 20,000 Palestinian deaths in the conflict in Gaza that was expected to reach on Monday.

"It's tragic," the President said in a short answer, without elaborating

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Published: 21 Dec 2023, 9:11 AM
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