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US senator calls for holding Israel accountable if it doesn’t limit civilian casualties

In an interview with Al-Monitor, US Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Democrat from Maryland, says Biden should go over Netanyahu’s head, speak directly to Israeli people about post-conflict vision. 
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) speaks during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the Defense Department's budget request on Capitol Hill on June 17, 2021 in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON — The United States should hold Israel accountable to a war plan in the Gaza Strip that limits civilian casualties and is consistent with American interests and values, said US Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), in an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor. 

“I support the focus for now being on implementing and holding the Netanyahu government accountable for coming up with a plan — an actionable, verifiable, enforceable plan — to dramatically reduce the number of civilian casualties and to ensure we have full cooperation with supplying desperately needed humanitarian assistance to Gaza,” said Van Hollen, backing statements made in Israel this week by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

On Nov. 8, Van Hollen and 25 other Democratic senators wrote to US President Joe Biden expressing support for Israel’s military requests but concerns about Israeli military strategy, especially its impact on civilians.

The war began on Oct. 7 when Hamas, the terrorist group that governs Gaza, killed around 1,200 Israelis. Israeli military operations against Hamas in Gaza have resulted in close to 15,000 Palestinians killed, most of them women and children. Israel resumed military operations in Gaza on Friday, following a one-week pause mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the United States, which allowed humanitarian assistance to Gaza and an exchange of 110 of the 240 Israeli and international hostages seized on Oct. 7 in return for 240 Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jails.

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