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Israeli Forces Have Limited Time in Gaza, U.S. Officials Say - The New York Times – 09.11.23

Israel’s response to the Hamas attacks has fueled sympathy around the world for the Palestinian cause even as Israel continues to bury its dead.


The Israeli military has limited time to carry out its operations in Gaza before anger among Arabs in the region and frustration in the United States and other countries over the spiraling civilian death toll constrain Israel’s goal of eradicating Hamas, U.S. officials said this week.


As senior Biden administration officials push Israel to do more to minimize civilian casualties, Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Wednesday that he was worried each civilian killed in Gaza could generate future members of Hamas.


General Brown did not call for a cease-fire. But when asked by reporters traveling with him to Tokyo if he was worried that high civilian casualty numbers would generate future Hamas militants, he replied, “Yes, very much so.”


His comment offered a rare glimpse of divisions between Israel and the Biden administration, which has declared its support for Israel’s military campaign even as the civilian death toll has increased.


It came as the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, said that the number of civilians killed in the Gaza Strip showed that there was something “clearly wrong” with Israel’s military operations against Hamas.


Israel launched a ground invasion after Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters rampaged through southern Israel on Oct. 7, indiscriminately killing women, children, babies and the elderly.


More than 1,400 people were slain and more than 240 were taken hostage and ferried to Gaza. On Wednesday, Israeli investigators said that “victims were tortured, physically abused, raped, burned alive and dismembered.”


The level of carnage has deeply shaken Israel and shaped its military response. The country’s leaders have vowed to eliminate Hamas, which is committed to the destruction of Israel, and to kill everyone implicated in the Oct. 7 atrocities.


But the longer the Israeli military campaign continues, the greater the chance that the conflict will spark a wider war, several officials in the Biden administration said. In addition, several officials said that Israel’s forceful response to the Hamas attacks has fueled sympathy around the world for the Palestinian cause even as Israel continues to bury its dead.


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Israeli Forces Have Limited Time in Gaza, U.S. Officials Say - The New York Times – 09.11
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Helene Cooper is a Pentagon correspondent. She was previously an editor, diplomatic correspondent and White House correspondent.


Eric Schmitt is a national security correspondent for The Times, focusing on U.S. military affairs and counterterrorism issues overseas, topics he has reported on for more than three decades.


Adam Goldman writes about the F.B.I. and national security. He has been a journalist for more than two decades.


A version of this article appears in print on Nov. 10, 2023, Section A, Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: U.S. Sees Danger in War Dragging On. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe



Israel launched a ground invasion in Gaza after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters in southern Israel. Credit...Avishag Shaar-Yashuv for The New York Times




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