White House’s Sullivan to speak with Israelis on Gaza war timetable

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White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday he will discuss with Israeli officials their timetable for the war in Gaza during a visit to Israel.

Israel is under growing international pressure to do more to limit civilian Palestinian deaths in Gaza in its stated aim to destroy the Hamas militant group. Sullivan said at a Wall Street Journal forum that he will discuss with the Israelis their post-war plan for Gaza.

“The subject of how they are seeing the timetable of this war will certainly be on the agenda for my meetings,” said Sullivan, who expected to visit soon.

US President Joe Biden has expressed strong support for Israel’s military operation against Hamas militants in Gaza but he and his team have expressed growing concern about the death of Palestinian civilians.

Biden plans to meet on Wednesday at the White House with family members of Americans taken hostage by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel in which 1 200 people were killed, a White House official said.

Sullivan blamed Hamas for the breakdown in an Israeli-Hamas truce of Nov. 24 to Dec. 1 because the militants refused to release more hostages.

“Hamas to this day continues to hold women, elderly people, civilians in significant numbers. And yet still, it’s saying, Hey, how about everybody just stops. So we believe that Israel has the right to defend itself,” he said.