The United States has provided Israel with about 15,000 bombs and 57,000 artillery shells since the Hamas invasion and massacre on Oct. 7, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Israel Defense Forces reportedly received 100 BLU-109 2,000-lb bunker busters, which are crucial for hitting high-value targets like senior terrorist commanders hiding in deep and enforced tunnels beneath the Gaza Strip.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris emphasized the U.S. Biden administration's support for Israel’s right to defend itself during the COP 28 Climate Change conference in Dubai on Saturday.
“President Biden and I have been clear,” the vice president said. "Israel has a right to defend itself and we will remain steadfast in that conviction. President Biden and I have also been clear: As Israel defends itself, it matters how,” Harris added.
The latter part of the vice president’s remarks was a reference to the U.S. becoming increasingly vocal about the growing number of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip and their concerns, as the Hamas terror organization deliberately uses Gazan civilians as human shields – a clear war crime according to international law.
While Washington recognizes that Hamas is ultimately responsible for civilian casualties on both sides, the Biden administration has nevertheless urged Israel to do more to protect civilian lives in the Gaza Strip.
The Hamas-controlled Gazan Health Ministry claims that some 15,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the war began. However, there are no independent sources that can confirm these numbers and it does not typically distinguish between armed terrorists vs. innocent Gazan civilians, nor does it account for deaths caused by misfired rockets landing in its own territory.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel last week for the fourth time since the outbreak of the Hamas war in early October. The U.S. top diplomat stressed that Israel must do more to protect civilians while advancing its military goals to eliminate Hamas forces and to free the remaining hostages being held captive in the southern part of the coastal enclave.
“We discussed the details of Israel’s ongoing planning, and I underscored the imperative for the United States that the massive loss of civilian life and displacement on the scale that we saw in northern Gaza not be repeated in the south,” Blinken said.
Israel has clearly paid attention to Washington’s concerns.
White House spokesman John Kirby recently praised the Israeli military for its extensive efforts to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza.
“We believe they have been receptive to our messages here of trying to minimize civilian casualties,” Kirby said during an interview with ABC News.
Kirby was referring to the Israel Defense Forces decision to publish a digital map online of the Gaza Strip split into hundreds of numbered cells to inform Gazan civilians where to find shelter and pinpointing safe zones amid the ongoing fighting in the dense urban setting.
“There’s not a whole lot of modern militaries that would do that… to telegraph their punches in that way. So they are making an effort,” the senior White House official added.
On Friday, the Israeli army stressed that civilian Gazans are not enemies in an official statement.
“The people of Gaza are not out enemies. For this reason, as of this morning the IDF is leading controlled and specific evacuations of Gaza residents in order to remove them as much as possible from areas of combat,” the IDF stated.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.