Pentagon Secretary Says Israel Risks ‘Strategic Defeat’ If Civilian Lives Not Protected


Pentagon Secretary Lloyd Austin stated Saturday Israel risked a “strategic defeat” if it fails to guard civilian lives in Gaza throughout its warfare with Hamas, including he had personally appealed to Israeli leaders to take action.

“In this kind of a fight, the center of gravity is the civilian population,” Austin stated in the course of the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in California. “And if you drive them into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.”

“So I have repeatedly made clear to Israel’s leaders that protecting Palestinian civilians in Gaza is both a moral responsibility and a strategic imperative.”

Israel resumed its bombardment of Gaza on Friday after a quick cease-fire ended. The nation has since widened its offensive to each a part of the area, ordering these in southern Gaza to evacuate and vowing the incursion can be “no less strength” than that within the north.

At least 15,000 Palestinians have been killed since Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault that left 1,200 Israelis useless, in response to the Gaza well being ministry, together with round 200 because the Friday pause dissolved.

Austin reiterated Saturday the U.S. stood firmly behind Israel, calling the nation America’s “closest friend in the world.” But his remarks have been among the strongest but to guard civilians in the course of the warfare, in addition to to permit Gazans to entry humanitarian help.

He added the one “viable” finish to the warfare was a two-state answer.

“It would compound this tragedy if all that awaited Israelis and Palestinians at the end of this awful war was more insecurity, more rage and more despair,” Austin stated. “Israelis and Palestinians have both paid too bitter a price to just go back to October 6th.”

“Without a horizon of hope, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will remain an engine of instability and insecurity and human suffering,” he added.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel earlier this week because the U.S. works to barter one other pause within the warfare. John Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator on the White House National Security Council, instructed NBC the Biden administration was working “really hour, hour by hour,” to see if it may get either side “back to the table.”

“We would like that to happen today,” Kirby stated. “But honestly, I just don’t know.”

Support HuffPost