Global Economy

Blinken: Israel offensive on Rafah would not eliminate Hamas

Washington: An all-out Israeli offensive on the Gaza city of Rafah would provoke “anarchy” without eliminating Hamas, the US secretary of state said Sunday, while agreeing that Israeli forces had killed more civilians than Hamas militants.

Israel‘s on the trajectory, potentially, to inherit an insurgency with many armed Hamas left or, if it leaves, a vacuum filled by chaos, filled by anarchy and probably refilled by Hamas,” Secretary Antony Blinken told NBC‘s “Meet the Press.”

Asked on CBS whether the US concurred with a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israeli forces had killed more civilians than Hamas militants since the war began on October 7, Blinken simply replied, “Yes, we do.”

He also confirmed that the hold President Joe Biden has placed on weapons to Israel — as the US continues pressing it to do more to protect civilians and to avoid an all-out invasion of Rafah — remained limited to 3,500 “high-capacity” bombs.

Blinken said the United States was continuing to press Israeli leaders to provide a plan for Gaza once the war is finally over.

“We also haven’t seen a plan for what happens the day after this war in Gaza ends,” he told NBC, adding, “We’ve been talking to them about a much better way of getting an enduring result.”Blinken said Hamas militants had already returned to certain areas of northern Gaza that Israel had “liberated.”A full-scale invasion, he said on CBS, could come “potentially at an incredibly high cost.”

And, he added, Israel “will be left holding the bag on an enduring insurgency.”

Asked about the State Department report issued Friday that said Israel likely has violated norms of international law in its use of US weapons, Blinken said there was still too little evidence to warrant ending all military support.

The chaotic and dangerous conditions of an ongoing war, he said, made it “very difficult” to determine exactly what was happening, or what weapons used, in any specific action.

Republicans have been sharply critical even of Biden’s limited halt to providing bombs.

Senator Tom Cotton, a member of the Armed Services Committee, told CBS that the State Department report “was very clear: there is no evidence that Israel is violating international law.”

He said Israel “is doing more than any military in history to prevent civilian casualties.”


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