US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the United States will not allow Hamas to win, and warned Israel of a strategic defeat if it does not commit to protecting civilians in the Gaza Strip.
During his speech before the Reagan Defense Forum in California, Austin stressed that American support for Israel is not subject to negotiation, and said, “Our support for Israel's security is non-negotiable, and never will be; “In Israel and Ukraine, democracies are fighting ruthless enemies who seek to annihilate them, and we will not let Hamas or Putin win.”
Austin added that the lessons learned from the war against ISIS are that an urban war cannot be won without protecting civilians, and he warned of a strategic defeat if Israel does not commit to protecting civilians in Gaza.
And he said “Urban warfare can only be won by protecting civilians. Because in this type of war, the fulcrum is the civilian population. If you push them into the enemy's arms, you are exchanging tactical victory for strategic defeat. Therefore, I have repeatedly made clear to Israeli leaders that protecting Palestinian civilians in Gaza is a moral responsibility and a strategic imperative.”
The American minister indicated that he personally urged Israeli leaders to avoid civilian deaths and injuries, to stop “irresponsible rhetoric,” and to prevent settler violence in the West Bank. He stressed that he also urged to significantly expand the scope of humanitarian aid entry into Gaza, adding that he expected delivery More aid “in the coming days.”
In front of an audience of prominent American lawmakers, national security officials, and defense executives, Austin renewed US calls for the establishment of two states to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding, “Without prospects for hope, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will remain a driver of instability, insecurity, and human suffering.”
On the other hand, NBC News quoted a US State Department official as saying that Israel has agreed to allocate what it calls large safe zones in the southern Gaza Strip as its military operations expand.
The source indicated that the agreement stipulates that some people will leave their homes in those areas, and explained that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wants a plan to reduce the suffering of civilians in southern Gaza with the expansion of military operations.
The Israeli army resumed its massive attack on the Gaza Strip on Friday morning, after the end of a humanitarian truce that extended for a week. The Israeli aggression on Gaza since the seventh of last October left more than 15,000 martyrs, most of them children and women, and more than 40,000 injured, in addition to destruction. It is a major infrastructural disaster and an unprecedented humanitarian disaster, according to official Palestinian and UN sources.