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US calls on Israel to distinguish between Hamas and Palestinian civilians

The Pentagon acknowledged Monday that "thousands" of civilians have been killed in the besieged Gaza Strip amid Israel's ongoing aerial bombardment and ground invasion.

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published November 07,2023

The US on Monday said Israel needs to protect civilians and distinguish between the Hamas group and Palestinian civilians.

"We have been incredibly clear with our Israeli partners that civilians need to be protected, that they need to distinguish between Hamas terrorists and Palestinian civilians," State Department deputy spokesman Vedat Patel said when asked by Anadolu whether the US thinks its calls to Israel have been insufficient in terms of forcing Israel to act in line with international law.

Patel said he would not go into specifics of the ongoing diplomatic conversations but said they will continue to raise it.

When pressed if the US supports Israel's such actions or is concerned by them, Patel responded: "We believe that Israel has the right to defend itself, defend its security."

"We believe that what transpired on October 7 is not something that any country in the world will be able to accept," he said.

However, he said that even though Hamas "uses civilians as shields," the US continues to believe that it is "important for Israel to distinguish between Hamas terrorists and Palestinian civilians".

"The Secretary (of State Antony Blinken) will do that and others in the administration will do that, and will continue to engage in this diplomacy," he added.

Israel launched air and ground attacks on Gaza following a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 that killed over 1,400 Israelis. At least 10,022 Palestinians, including 4,104 children and 2,641 women, have been killed during Israel's relentless bombardment, according to Gaza's Health Ministry.

An Israeli airstrike on Gaza late Saturday killed four children and three siblings of Anadolu cameraman Muhammed Alaloul.

Israeli army's attacks damaging or destroying civilian buildings have drawn international outrage while US officials have been calling on Israel to minimize civilian harm and comply with international law.