Despite the soaring civilian deaths in Gaza, the Biden administration is not considering using any of the leverage it has over Israel to get the Israeli military to change its tactics, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
US officials say they’re expressing concern privately and claim Israel is listening, but the current campaign in south Gaza, where there are millions of displaced civilians, is no less brutal than Israeli operations in the north.
The US has pointed to Israel allowing more aid trucks to enter Gaza as proof that Israel is listening. But the UN’s top relief official, Martin Griffiths, has said the situation in south Gaza is “apocalyptic” and ending any possibility of meaningful humanitarian operations.
Gaza’s Health Ministry has said nearly 16,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since October 7, 70% being women and children. The mass slaughter of civilians has not caused the Biden administration to rethink support for the war, and the Reuters report said the US is “stopping well short” of measures that would force Israel to listen to concerns about civilian casualties, such as restricting military aid.
Instead, US officials have maintained US military aid to Israel is unconditional. The support has involved near-daily weapons shipments, including thousands of massive bombs, and the deployment of more American firepower to the region to “deter” regional actors from entering the war.
One US official claimed to Reuters that reducing military support for the onslaught would carry risks. “You start lessening aid to Israel, you start encouraging other parties to come into the conflict, you weaken the deterrence effect, and you encourage Israel’s other enemies,” the official said.
Israeli officials have made clear they aren’t feeling any pressure to change their tactics. “I must admit I sense that the prime minister feels zero pressure, and that we will do whatever it takes to achieve our military goals,” said Ophir Falk, a foreign policy advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.