Deadline? Biden wants Israel to end ground war with Hamas by year’s end

Before the meeting between US officials and Netanyahu, Defense Minister Gallant said the Israel-Hamas war could last ‘more than several months.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

The Biden Administration has urged Israel to make the transition from a full-scale ground war to a more targeted operation.

This news comes after a meeting on Thursday between White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu with National Security Council spokesman John Kirby reporting on these discussions.

Prior to the meeting with Sullivan on Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant indicated that the Israel-Hamas war could last “more than several months.”

Kirby reported that Sullivan, during his meeting with Netanyahu, discussed “the next phase of Israel’s military campaign, and he asked hard questions, as we have been doing, about what all that could look like.”

Kirby added that they “also discussed efforts Israel’s now undertaking to be more surgical and precise in their targeting and efforts that they are taking to help increase the flow of aid.”

The Biden Administration is concerned about reports from Hamas’ Health Ministry that casualties in Gaza have reached 20,000, although these numbers have not been verified by an independent source.

Kirby said that the Biden Administration would like to see a transition from “high-intensity clearance operations, which are ongoing now, to ultimately lower-intensity focus on high-value targets, intelligence-driven raids and those sorts of more-narrow surgical military objectives.”

Although some US officials have denied that President Biden has given a tangible date for the end of the current phase of the war, other officials, on condition of anonymity, have said that the US President has given a January 1, 2024 deadline.

A US official discussed at Thursday’s meeting “the issue of the protection of hospitals, even when those hospitals are being used by Hamas.”

He added that the Biden Administration wants “them to be focused on how to save civilian lives. Not stop going after Hamas — but be more careful.”

Following the meeting, an official from Netanyahu’s office said, “Israel and the US are fully aligned on the mission to destroy Hamas.”