The Israeli government has rejected accusations that the Israeli military is doing too little to protect the civilian population of the Gaza Strip while seeking to destroy Hamas.
Israeli government advisor Mark Regev said on Sunday, “We will simultaneously make every effort to do two things: First – distinguish between the terrorists, who are our sworn enemy, and the civilian population. We will do everything in our power to protect this population.”
He added: “We will facilitate the entry of humanitarian support into Gaza for civilians in Gaza.”
His comments come as international concerns grow over the death toll in Gaza, which on Sunday reached more than 15,500, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.
Regev also said that Hamas is exclusively responsible for the war in Gaza and the resumption of hostilities after the ceasefire, and that it is using residential areas, hospitals and mosques to hide its “military terror machine.”
His statements were supported by US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who said that the White House believes that Israel is “making an effort” to reduce the number of civilian deaths in Gaza.
“We believe they have accepted our messages here by trying to minimize civilian casualties,” he told ABC, including publishing an online map of places where Gazans can go in search of safety.
“There aren’t a lot of modern militaries that can do that… to strike that way. So they’re making an effort.”
Ron Dermer, Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs, insisted to ABC that efforts to minimize civilian casualties were deliberate and “unprecedented.”
He added: “If we were to do this quickly, we would harm many more civilians.”
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