Austin warned that Israel can only achieve victory if it did everything in its power to protect civilians, create humanitarian corridors to allow Palestinians to flee conflict zones and listen to other nations and international organizations when they warn about humanitarian lapses and possible crimes against humanity in Gaza. He gave this warning during a speech to the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California on Saturday, Dec. 2. (Related: Israel's GENOCIDE in Gaza leads to rising global pro-Palestine sentiment.)
"I have personally pushed Israeli leaders to avoid civilian casualties," said Austin, who also claimed that he has urged the Israeli government to end its extremist anti-Palestinian rhetoric and to prevent violence by Israeli settlers in the West Bank, which is internationally recognized to be Palestinian territory. "We will continue to press Israel to protect civilians and to ensure the robust flow of humanitarian aid."
Austin's comments come as international pressure for Israel to end all military operations in Gaza due to the massive death toll its indiscriminate bombing and attacks on civilians have caused. Even top U.S. officials – previously hesitant to publicly criticize Israeli actions in Gaza – are now getting braver and becoming increasingly vocal in their warnings to Israel about the death toll in the Gaza Strip.
Federal leaders are concerned that mounting civilian casualties could make continued U.S. support for Israel untenable.
Despite that, Austin emphasized Israel had the right to defend itself and to respond to terrorist attacks, like the alleged Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel supposedly by Hamas that left at least 1,200 Israelis dead. But he did add that it is crucial for Israel to listen to its allies and to work together with the international community to prevent civilian casualties.
"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," warned Austin. "Israelis and Palestinians have both paid too bitter a price to just go back to Oct. 6 [before the war]."
Furthermore, Austin reaffirmed the White House's previous statements regarding Israel, noting that the U.S. will remain the country's "closest friend in the world" and that American support for Israel is non-negotiable.
Austin argued that the "only viable" way out of the conflict is a two-state solution wherein Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike can "find a way to share the land that they both call home." He then denounced Hamas and said that the U.S. will continue working with Israel to help release the remaining approximately 140 hostages taken during the initial attack on Oct. 7.
Federal officials are also supposedly working to stabilize the situation in other parts of the Middle East amid fears of rising tensions and a potential escalation in the conflict.
Watch this episode of the "Health Ranger Report" as Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, discusses how Israel's assault on Gaza is not "self-defense."