Despite the massive bombing campaign and ground invasion in Gaza, a senior Pentagon official believes Israel has not come close to taking out Hamas’s leadership, The New York Times reported Saturday.
The report reads: “One senior US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive details, said the operations so far have not come close to destroying Hamas’s senior and middle leadership ranks.”
According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, at least 9,770 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli onslaught, including 4,008 children. The Times report said the US was making suggestions to Israel to reduce civilian casualties, such as using smaller bombs, but the Biden administration is refusing to leverage military aid.
According to The Washington Post, the US is not conditioning military aid or using other leverage it has over Israel because it “would be so politically unpopular in any administration and partly because, aides say, Biden himself has a personal attachment to Israel.”
The Post report also said that White House advisors believed Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza would only lead to destabilization and escalation. Regardless of the US officials’ view of the war, they are seeking an additional $14 billion from Congress to keep funding the onslaught.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Israel on Friday and suggested a “humanitarian pause,” but the idea was rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The following day, Blinken traveled to Amman and met with Arab leaders who called for a real ceasefire, an idea the Biden administration has rejected. “It’s our view that a ceasefire now would simply leave Hamas in place and able to regroup and repeat what it did on October 7,” Blinken said.