Focus On The Tunnels, Kerry Tells Netanyahu
07/18/14
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Washington — Expressing concern about civilian casualties, U.S. State Secretary John Kerry said Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip should be a “precise” one, targeting Hamas tunnels.

Kerry made the appeal during a telephone conversation late Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the U.S. State Department said in a statement issued hours after the Israel Defense Force entered Gaza.

“The secretary reaffirmed our strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorist threats emanating from tunnels into Israel and expressed our view that this should be a precise operation to target tunnels, as described in a statement from the Israeli Defense Forces,” Kerry said in the statement distributed by the White House.

The IDF spokesman said on Twitter that the army had so far targeted four tunnels and 21 rocket launchers.

An Israeli soldier died in the incursion. Eitan Barak, 20, was shot in the northern Gaza Strip, Haaretz reported.

In Gaza, the Israeli incursion resulted in the death of five Palestinians early Friday, according to the Ma’an news agency, including a baby. The IDF spokesman said on Twitter that 17 terrorists were killed and 13 were captured.

Kerry in his statement said he asked Netanyahu to limit civilian casualties. Separately, his spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said Thursday that Kerry had told Netanyahu that “certainly there’s more that can be done” to prevent civilian casualties. She cited particularly the deaths Wednesday of four boys playing soccer on a beach.

So far, two Israelis and more than 200 Palestinians have died since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 in response to rocket fire from Gaza. The operation, which began with air strikes, was broadened Thursday to include ground incursions.

Following the move, Jordan called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. Psaki said Kerry was in touch with the leaders of Egypt, which borders Gaza and which proffered a cease-fire Hamas rejected earlier this week, and Qatar, the Arab country closest to Hamas.

The IDF called 18,000 reserves troops for duty in connection with the activity in Gaza, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.

In parallel, several rockets launched from Gazas hit unpopulated areas near Be’ar Sheva and Ashdod, Army Radio reported.

editor@jewishweek.org

 

Last Update:

07/20/2014 - 07:29

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The right policy toward Israel for the US is strong support without reservations. You don't have to be a high-level military expert to realize that NOW is the best/optimal/least costly time to obliterate Hamas's terrorist infrastructure. Piecemeal war will not bring peace. Fewer Israeli and Palestinian lives will be lost, in the long run, if Israel takes Hamas's tools of war away now. When Obama or Kerry or Europe exert pressure on Israel to rein in their mission, they do catastrophic damage to Israelis and Palestinians. As long as Hamas is able to fight - they will. G-d help us all.

The Israeli Defense Force is consistently careful to avoid civilian casualties. Kerry is not helping Israel when he gives advice/criticism like '... expressed [his] view that this should be a precise operation to target tunnels,...'. He sounds as if he is the lawyer for Hamas - not Israel's ally. NO ONE outside of Israel knows better than Israel what should be done in Gaza. Please leave them alone to take care of the problem

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