Israeli bombs continue to pound Gaza as the US stands firmly behind its ally and refuses to join international calls for a ceasefire. According to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, at least three Palestinians have been killed in airstrikes late Tuesday and early Wednesday morning in Gaza.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with his Israeli counterpart on Tuesday and affirmed the US military’s “unwavering” commitment to Israel. In a readout of the call, the Pentagon said that Austin “expressed his support for de-escalation of the conflict,” but the US is actively working against international ceasefire efforts and has blocked three UN Security Council statements calling for a de-escalation.
President Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and also expressed “support” for a ceasefire. But again, it appears the US is putting no real pressure on the Israelis to stop the bombing and is instead giving them the diplomatic cover to continue.
Israel’s Channel 12 reported on Tuesday that Israel and Hamas were close to agreeing to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that would take effect at 6 am on Thursday morning. But the report was denied by Israeli and Hamas officials. Last week, Israel rejected a truce offer from Hamas that was made through the Russian foreign ministry.
Early on Tuesday, there was a six-hour pause in rocket fire from Gaza, which could have been an opportunity for peace. But instead, the Israelis continued to launch airstrikes on the besieged enclave during the lull.
Comments from Israeli officials suggest the bombing campaign will go on. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have no shortage of targets to bomb in Gaza. “No person, area or neighborhood in Gaza is immune. We have thousands more attack targets that are only further accumulating,” he said. “The IDF has many plans to continue striking Hamas and the fighting won’t stop until we bring about complete and long-term calm.”
As of early Wednesday in Gaza, Israeli airstrikes have killed 220 Palestinians, including 63 children. In Israel, 12 have been killed by rocket fire from Gaza, including two children.
Demonstrating the brutality of Israel’s air raids, the Norwegian Refugee Council said that 11 Palestinian children receiving trauma counseling from the charity were killed by Israeli airstrikes while sheltering in their homes. Besides refusing to pressure Israel to seek a ceasefire, the US has also failed to condemn or even mention the Israeli killing of children.