Jake Sullivan: 'As Long as They Need to Feel Safe,' US will back Israel's war against Hamas

October 11, 2023

On Tuesday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke about what the United States was willing to do to support Israel, a long-time ally. 

Breitbart News reported that Sullivan said the United States would back Israel in its war against Palestinian Hamas terrorists "for as long as they need to ensure that Israel is safe and secure."

The question "How much retaliation in Gaza is the U.S. willing to accept?" was posed by Peter Alexander of NBC News, and Sullivan's response was as follows.

The Official Stance

"I don’t think of this in terms of “retaliation," Sullivan said.

The spokesperson went on to explain that, "This is about providing support to Israel as it seeks to defend its territory and deal with an ongoing, imminent threat from Hamas terrorists who, as I said before, are acting a heck of a lot like ISIS terrorists in their barbarity and cruelty.

"That requires going after Hamas terrorist targets in Gaza. Because even as I speak, even as I stand here, there could be rockets flying out of Gaza. Going after those sites — that’s not retaliation.

"That’s Israel stepping up to defend itself and ensure the safety and security of the Israeli people. And we’re going to support them for as long as they need to ensure that Israel is safe and secure. And I’m can’t put a timetable on that."

More Questions on War

Sullivan reinforced the United States' stance on the ongoing conflict involving Israel during the recent press briefing, explaining how the country would move forward in the face of the conflict.

When questioned about the war's objectives and the potential establishment of "red lines" concerning Israeli military actions, Sullivan made it clear that he was not there to set specific boundaries.

Instead, he emphasized the administration's primary goal: supporting Israel's efforts to ensure its safety and the safety of hostages held by Hamas.

Sullivan's response underscored the U.S. commitment to its longstanding alliance with Israel while remaining cautious about imposing hardline limits in this complex conflict.

In another segment of the briefing, the issue of civilian casualties was addressed. Sullivan pointed out a critical distinction between Hamas and nations like the United States and Israel.

He went on to impress on the reporters that the U.S. and Israel do not intentionally target civilians. Sullivan revealed that President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have engaged in discussions focused on minimizing civilian casualties.

This reaffirms their commitment to conducting military operations in a manner that prioritizes civilian safety, reflecting the principles of humanitarian law.

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