Israel Urged to Protect Innocent Civilians in Gaza Despite Hamas’ Use of Human Shields, Says Biden Administration Advisor
National security advisor Jake Sullivan of the Biden administration has called on Israel to take responsibility for safeguarding innocent civilians in Gaza, even though Hamas is using them as human shields. Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sullivan emphasized that the Israeli government should make every effort to differentiate between terrorists and civilians during its ongoing military operations.
Sullivan acknowledged that Hamas’s placement of rocket and terrorist infrastructure among civilians creates additional challenges for Israel. However, he stressed that this does not absolve Israel of its responsibility under international humanitarian law to protect innocent lives and distinguish between terrorists and civilians.
“It is important for Israel to prioritize the lives of innocent people, and that includes the overwhelming majority of the people in Gaza,” Sullivan added.
As Israeli forces continue to bombard the Gaza Strip following a deadly terrorist attack three weeks ago, Sullivan stated that President Biden would be speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the matter. He also revealed that the U.S. has been engaged in private discussions with Israel about the need to protect civilians and ensure that military operations are targeted specifically at terrorists.
Netanyahu recently announced that Israeli forces have entered the “second stage” of their conflict with Hamas, leading to a significant expansion of ground operations in Gaza.
Since the infiltration by Hamas terrorists on October 7, approximately 8,700 people have been killed in the conflict, including 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers, as well as 33 Americans. However, the numbers provided by the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, which claim more than 7,300 Palestinian deaths in Gaza and 110 in the West Bank, have been met with skepticism by the Biden administration.
It is believed that at least 10 Americans are among the 229 individuals currently held captive by Hamas.