Washington, Dec 11 (IANS): The US government still has no clue as to how the Israel-Hamas war is going to play out till the end even after vetoing the UNSC resolution for a ceasefire by several nations. But the Biden government is pushing Israel to recognise the need for a separate Palestinian state to exist alongside Israel as a just and durable solution to the conflict and long-term peace.
Sixty days into the war, the US is still unclear how the fighting will end and how long it will last, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday.
"We have these discussions with Israel, including about the duration, as well as how it is prosecuting this campaign against Hamas. These are decisions for Israel to make," Blinken said on Sunday during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union".
"But Hamas has decisions to make, too. It could get out from hiding behind civilians tomorrow. It could put down its arms tomorrow. It could surrender tomorrow and this would be over," he added.
The Israeli invasion on Gaza, that began soon after the Hamas brutally attacked encampments adjoining Israel on October 7 kidnapping 240 people, was marked by aerial and ground assaults that led to the death of thousands of Palestinians, mostly civilians, and forced some 1.9 million people to flee their homes, media reports said.
Palestinians trapped in the enclave caught in the crossfire between Israel and Hamas face severe shortages of food, water and other basic goods as the daily humanitarian supplies from US and other agencies is quite disproportionate to their needs.
According to Palestinian officials, 17,700 Palestinians have been killed. Hamas continues to launch rockets into Israel, and nearly 85 per cent of the 2.3 million people living in Gaza have been displaced, with nowhere safe to flee, according to UN agencies.
The US has been steadfast in its support to Israel, and recently vetoed a ceasefire resolution in the UN Security Council -- a measure that had support from almost all other Security Council countries. However, US officials have also called on Israeli leaders to take measures to avoid civilian casualties.
Israel has vowed to wipe out Hamas to avenge the October 7 carnage.
Hamas has sidelined the Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas and now controls the entire administration of the Gaza enclave unlike the West Bank. There is no plan as yet in sight as to what happens to this region once the fighting ends.
"Of course, everyone wants to see this campaign come to a close as quickly as possible. But any country faced with what Israel is facing, a terrorist organisation that attacked in the most horrific way possible on October 7, and, as I said, has said repeatedly that it would do it again and again -- it has to get to the point where it is confident that that can't be repeated," Blinken said on Sunday.
The US, Blinken said, wants to see this end with the formation of a Palestinian state side-by-side with Israel.
"From our perspective, I think from the perspective of many around the world that it has to lead to a Palestinian state. This is -- we're not going to have durable peace, we're not going to have durable security for Israel unless and until Palestinian political aspirations are met," Blinken added.