Israel dealing with Palestine with swag.
The death toll continues to climb amid more fighting between Israel and Hamas.
Officials from the U.S., Egypt, Qatar and United Nations are working around the clock to broker a truce in Gaza after more than a week of deadly fighting left more than 200 people dead, but Israel’s leader signaled he’s not yet ready to let up.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he’ll do “whatever it takes” to restore order after persistent rocket attacks from Gaza sparked Israeli jet strikes in retaliation. He said his goal is to “degrade” the ability of Hamas, which governs the densely populated Gaza strip, to threaten Israel.
“I hope it won’t take long, but it’s not immediate,” Netanyahu told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” in a Sunday interview. “We are targeting a terrorist organization that is targeting our civilians and hiding behind their civilians — using them as human shields.”
Yet Israel drew outrage for targeting non-combatants after it leveled a high-rise building in Gaza on Saturday that housed news outlets such as the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, as well as residential apartments. Netanyahu said Israel warned occupants to evacuate the building, which he said had been used by Hamas’s military wing, before striking it.
Pressed on CBS for proof of how the building had been used, Netanyahu said “we share with our American friends all that intelligence.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Europe this week, held calls with counterparts in France, Qatar, Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Sunday. On Monday he spoke with Tunisia’s foreign minister and, at a press conference in Copenhagen, said the U.S. is “prepared to lend our support” should the Israelis and Palestinians “seek a ceasefire,” while stopping short of calling for one.
“Ultimately it is up to the parties to make clear that they want to pursue a ceasefire — any ceasefire would be by definition between them but we’re ready to engage in support and meanwhile, we are working tirelessly across every diplomatic channel we have to advance the prospect of getting to getting to calm,” Blinken said.
Blinken’s readouts of his calls haven’t suggested much progress on the diplomatic front and some critics have said the U.S. appears to be giving Netanyahu time to inflict more damage on Hamas. The U.S. has also faced questions about whether it is delaying deliberations at the United Nations.