As the Israel-Hamas war enters day 26, US President Joe Biden in a call with King Abdullah II of Jordan, agreed that it is critical to ensure that Palestinians are not forcibly displaced outside of Gaza. Apart from discussions on the latest developments there, the leaders spoke on the facilitation of the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.
“President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan. The leaders discussed the latest developments in Gaza and their shared commitment to facilitating the increased, sustained delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza and the resumption of essential services,” the White House said, quoting the readout of President Biden’s Call with King Abdullah II of Jordan, As Israel defends its citizens and fights terrorists, Biden emphasised the significance of upholding international humanitarian law and preserving civilian life.
“They also agreed that it is critical to ensure that Palestinians are not forcibly displaced outside of Gaza. The leaders discussed urgent mechanisms to stem violence, calm rhetoric, and reduce regional tensions,” the readout added. Biden, in his call with the Jordanian King, affirmed the commitment to “work together” for a durable and sustainable peace in the Middle East. “The President and King Abdullah affirmed their commitment to work together and with other regional partners to set the conditions for a durable and sustainable peace in the Middle East to include the establishment of a Palestinian state,” said the readout.
“The President expressed appreciation to the King for Jordan’s role in promoting regional stability, reaffirmed Jordan as a critical ally, and confirmed unwavering US support for Jordan and His Majesty’s leadership,” it added. White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby on Monday (local time) said that he thinks Israel is “certainly” making an effort to minimise humanitarian casualties in Gaza. While addressing a press briefing on Monday (local time), he said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken about the efforts that they are making to try to avoid civilian casualties. He noted that there have been civilian casualties amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas and added that the Israel Defence Force’s goal is to go after Hamas terrorists and not after civilians.
Asked whether US President Joe Biden feels that Israel abides by the rule of war, Kirby said, “Without getting into, reacting to events on the ground in real-time, which we are just not going to do, this is a conversation we consistently have had with our Israeli counterparts. As you rightly know, that was part of the discussion yesterday with the prime minister, and you heard the prime minister today speaking in Tel Aviv about the efforts that they’re undertaking to try to avoid civilian casualties, and I think that they certainly are making that effort.” “It doesn’t mean that there haven’t been civilian casualties tragically, there have been many, thousands of them, but unlike Putin in Ukraine, and unlike what Hamas did on October 7, killing civilians is not a war aim of the Israeli Defence Forces. Their war aim is to go after Hamas terrorists, terrorists I might add, that are using innocent Palestinians as human shields,” he added.
John Kirby’s remarks come after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back on criticism about civilian casualties and said Hamas was preventing civilians from moving to the safe zone in southern Gaza. While addressing a press briefing, Netanyahu said, “Not a single civilian has to die. Hamas has to merely let them go to the safe zone.” He noted, “Hamas is preventing them from leaving, keeping them in the areas of conflict.” He said the question should be directed to Hamas and added that Israel is “going out of our way” to avoid civilian casualties. “We cannot give immunity to these terrorists… these savages. We have to do everything we can to minimize civilian casualties. But we cannot give up the fight… This is a battle of civilization against barbarians,” he said, according to The Times of Israel report.