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Kirby defends US approach in Israel when pressed on red lines

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby defended the United States’s diplomatic approach in the Israel-Hamas war and would not commit to imposing any hard red lines on support for Israel.

“We believe that the approach that we’ve been taking, Margaret, has had an effect,” Kirby told CBS’s Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation,” adding that the United States has been very clear in calling for Israel to take precautions to minimize deaths in Gaza.

“We are having these discussions with our Israeli counterparts every day about being careful, precise and deliberate in their targeting and trying to minimize civilian casualties to the maximum extent possible,” Kirby said.

“We don’t want to see a single more innocent life taken here. And so we’re going to continue to work with Israel about this, but the approach that we’ve been taking has delivered some results, including more than 100 hostages getting out,” he later added.

When asked about remarks last week from Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) expressing concern about Kirby refusing to commit to red lines on aid for Israel, Kirby underscored the pressure the United States still places on Israel.

“Everything that we do for a foreign military, including Israel, when you give them security assistance, there are expectations with that security assistance — that it’s going to be used in keeping with the law of armed conflict, the law of war,” Kirby said when asked about Van Hollen’s criticism.

“And we are in constant touch with our Israeli counterparts about the way that they’re prosecuting these operations,” Kirby continued. “[Secretary of State Antony Blinken] has said himself, it’s not just what you do that matters. It’s how you do that matters.”

Kirby also underscored the difficulty Israel has faced in minimizing civilian deaths when evidence has demonstrated that Hamas deliberately places civilians in harm’s way, counting on the public backlash against Israel.

“I think it’s also important for people to remember what they’re up against here. Hamas deliberately shelters themselves inside residential buildings, hospitals and schools, basically, on purpose putting civilians in the line of fire, and what Israel is trying to do is get them out of the line of fire,” Kirby said. “So it’s an added burden that Israel has as a modern military, we recognize that, but it’s also a very difficult burden and obstacle for them to overcome.”

Source: The Hill

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