White House Says ‘Too Many’ Palestinian Casualties

The White House criticized Israel this week ahead of the expected offensive to take the Gaza city of Rafah, the last stronghold of the terrorist group Hamas. The statement about Palestinian casualties during Israel’s current conflict with Hamas renewed the simmering tension between the Biden administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby said that there have been “too many civilian casualties” in the current conflict and that the “number needs to be zero.”

“And there are too many people starving, too many people in need. And so, we’re going to continue to push Israel to do more to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people and to try to get a ceasefire in place so that we can get all those hostages out. And then, after six weeks of a ceasefire, try to find an enduring way to end this conflict,” Kirby said.

“The president’s committed to that,” he added.

Israel has offered Hamas a potential ceasefire, requesting the release of remaining hostages taken in the Oct. 7 terrorist attack. Hamas denied another recent ceasefire request.

The news came as Israel prepared for what could be the last significant engagement of the conflict that started last October with the Hamas terrorist attack that killed about 1,200 civilians. While Israel has taken steps to minimize Israeli and Palestinian casualties, activists state that the death toll has been too high.

Israeli forces are setting up positions around the city, including tents for potential civilian refugees.

The latest pressure from the Biden administration is not the first. President Joe Biden said earlier this year that an attack on Rafah would represent a “red line.” However, the White House later walked that statement back.

The White House also discussed possibly tying future arms deliveries to Israel with certain conditions and also weighed sanctioning an Israeli military unit. However, both proposals appear to be withdrawn for now.

Congress also passed billions of dollars in aid for Israel last week following the largescale bombardment of hundreds of missiles and drones launched from Iran earlier this month.