John Kirby Says U.S. Is Not ‘Dictating Terms’ For Israel’s Expected Gaza Ground Invasion

John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, on Monday, said the Biden administration is not “dictating terms” for Israel’s anticipated ground offensive in Gaza to wipe out the Hamas militant group following their brutal Oct. 7 attack.

Reports have suggested that the U.S. has called on Israel to refrain or at least delay its ground invasion to address lingering issues, including the about 200 hostages that remain in Hamas’ custody, including U.S. citizens, and the worsening humanitarian crisis in the besieged territory.

So far, the group has released four captives, including two Americans and two Israeli older women. Biden administration officials also worry that the conflict could escalate beyond the region.

While Kirby didn’t directly weigh into the reports about the U.S. pushing to delay the offensive, he said the White House has talked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government about some things to consider beforehand.

“I can tell you, we have, since the beginning of the conflict, in the early hours, maintained a level of communication with our Israeli counterparts to ascertain their intentions, their strategy, their aims to see what their answers are to the kinds of tough questions that any military ought to be asking before you launch any kind of a major operation,” Kirby told White House reporters.

“Have you thought through the branches? Have you thought through the sequels? Have you thought through the unintended consequences?” he asked. “And so, we are in active conversation with them about that.”

Asked if the White House supports the view that they should invade Gaza whenever they feel ready, Kirby said the U.S. is certainly not “in the business of dictating terms” to the Israelis.

U.S. administration officials have told The New York Times that they are worried Israel lacks a clear, feasible plan for its complicated military operation.

Lt. Gen. James Glynn has reportedly been deployed to Israel to help their forces plan ahead of what is expected to be a challenging war given the vast underground tunnel network Hamas operates in Gaza.

Following the Oct. 7 attack Hamas launched in Israel, the country has responded with relentless airstrikes, with Netanyahu pledging to destroy Hamas.

Biden spoke to Netanyahu on Monday, reiterating “the need to sustain a continuous flow of urgently needed humanitarian assistance into Gaza,” according to a readout of their call.

So far, over 5,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, the Hamas-run Health Ministry has confirmed, according to The Associated Press. Israeli authorities have said over 1,400 of their citizens were killed, most of the civilians targeted by Hamas on Oct. 7.

The majority of Israelis appear to support a ground invasion, according to a poll published by the Ma’ariv newspaper last week.


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