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New strikes hit Gaza as Israel-Hamas fighting resumes: live updates


1:59 p.m. ET, December 2, 2023

Harris says Israel must do more to protect civilians: “Too many innocent Palestinians have been killed”



An Israeli Air Force helicopter fires a missile while flying over the border with Gaza, near southern Israel, on Saturday, December 2.

(Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

While the US supports Israel’s “legitimate military objectives” in Gaza, the civilian suffering in the enclave has been too high, US Vice President Kamala Harris said Saturday.

Harris, who met several key leaders in the region on the sidelines of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, said she spoke with them in depth Saturday about what expectations the US will have in regard to post-conflict planning. 

“As Israel defends itself, it matters how. The United States is unequivocal: International humanitarian law must be respected. Too many innocent Palestinians have been killed. Frankly, the scale of civilian suffering, and the images and videos coming from Gaza, are devastating,” Harris said at a news conference during the COP28 climate summit in Dubai. “It is truly heartbreaking.” 

“As Israel pursues its military objectives in Gaza, we believe Israel must do more to protect innocent civilians,” she added.



Palestinians mourn their relatives killed in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, at a hospital in Khan Yunis on Saturday, December 2.

(Fatima Shbair/AP)

The post-war vision for Gaza: Harris, who met several key leaders in the region on the sidelines in Dubai, said she spoke with them in depth Saturday about what expectations the US will have in regard to post-conflict planning. 

Harris and US President Joe Biden are already having discussions with their national security team and partners in the region about what a future path forward could look like for Gaza and the West Bank, Harris told reporters.

There are five principles currently guiding their approach: No forcible displacement of the Palestinian people, no reoccupation of Gaza, no siege or blockade, no reduction in territory, and no use of Gaza as a platform for terrorism, she said. 

“I’ve had a number of in-depth conversations with Arab leaders here in Dubai. Specifically, I proposed three areas of focus,” Harris said, pointing first to the reconstruction of critical infrastructure in Gaza, then strengthening the Palestinian Authority’s security services, and lastly, revitalizing the PA’s governance structure. 

“When this conflict ends, Hamas cannot control Gaza, and Israel must be secure. Palestinians need a hopeful political horizon, economic opportunity and freedom and the region more broadly, must be integrated and prosperous. And we must, we must work toward that vision,” she said. 

Remember: The Palestinian Authority is a government body with limited self-rule in the West Bank. It was established in the 1993 Oslo Accords, a peace pact between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that saw the PLO give up armed resistance against Israel in return for promises of an independent Palestinian state.
Hamas controls Gaza and presents itself as an alternative to the PA, which has recognized Israel and engaged in multiple failed peace initiatives with it.



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