‘We didn’t pick the battlefield, Hamas did': Israel on civilian deaths in Gaza
Israel-Hamas War: Israel is facing heavy international pressure, including from Washington, to limit civilian casualties.
Israel expects difficult fighting in the new phase of its war in Gaza but remains open to "constructive feedback" on reducing harm to civilians, a government spokesperson said. "We're moving ahead with the second stage now. A second stage that is going to be difficult militarily," spokesperson Eylon Levy said as per news agency Reuters as Israeli forces began operating in the southern area of the Gaza Strip. The population in the region has been swollen by around 1 million refugees from northern areas.
"Any constructive feedback that we get, any serious military strategic advice about how to target Hamas while minimizing harm to civilians, we will of course mention," Eylon Levy said amid heavy international pressure, including from Washington, to limit civilian casualties.
The advice had to be in line with the aim of destroying the Palestinians militant group, he said, explaining, “We are going to continue with our campaign to destroy Hamas, a campaign that the United States sees eye to eye with us about the strategic objectives of this war, that this war cannot end with Hamas still standing.”
Israel was making many efforts to reduce harm to civilians, he asserted, saying, “We didn't pick the battlefield, Hamas picked the battlefield.”
The spokesman also said that Israel would consider another short-term ceasefire if an agreement can be reached with Hamas to return more of its 137 hostages. Securing the release of all those seized by Hamas remains an aim of the war, he said.
“A temporary pause to get them out” would be considered.
This comes as an Israeli military spokesperson urged Palestinian civilians in Gaza's southern area of Khan Younis to adhere to army's instructions to keep them out of harm's way.
"What civilians should do to stay safe is listen to the instructions that are coming out from our Twitter accounts, from our website, and also to look at the leaflets that are landing in their areas," Richard Hecht said.