In recent days, the United States has been steadily increasing the pressure on Israel, culminating in reports on Tuesday that it has set a deadline for Israel’s ground operation in the Gaza Strip to end, beginning in early January.
According to a report by Israel’s Kan News, the Biden administration sent unequivocal messages to Israel that it has “maybe weeks” remaining to finish the intensive phase of its ground operation.
The Israeli army this week resumed fighting after Hamas broke the 7-day truce, beginning its incursion into the southern part of the Gaza Strip, with a focus on the city of Khan Younis.
The press coverage about the rising numbers of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip is creating problems for Biden as the Democrat progressives and Muslim constituents are threatening not to vote for the president due to his vocal support for Israel, the report suggested.
Therefore, the government is pushing Israel to end the intensive phase of the war before the start of the American primary season, which also begins in January.
Another report by Al-Monitor news suggested that America's demand to end the ground operations in January wasn’t so much a deadline as a target.
The U.S. administration believes Israeli forces are close to “exhausting” the ground campaign and should, therefore, soon begin more focused efforts, limited in scope, to eliminate the terror organization Hamas.
“The gap between us and the Americans is around three weeks to a month — nothing that cannot be resolved,” an Israeli diplomatic source told Al-Monitor.
“If Secretary Blinken has marked Jan. 1 as a preferred target date for the beginning of the end of the Gaza operation, Israel wants the end of January as the target date. That leaves three weeks in dispute. There will be no problem bridging it,” the source added.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had already warned the Israeli war cabinet last week that it doesn’t have months left to fight in the Gaza Strip, amid mounting pressure due to the rising number of civilian and refugee casualties among the Palestinians.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the calls to wind down the war in early January during a press briefing on Tuesday evening.
“I say here to our friends in the world who are pressing for a quick end to the war: Our only way to end the war, and end it quickly, is to apply crushing pressure against Hamas – and destroy it. If our friends want to help shorten the war… they simply need to stand steadfast alongside us.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.