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Top US Officials Warn Israel's Gallant Against Invading Rafah

[2024年3月28日] 来源:VOA News  作者:Patsy Widakuswara(维达库斯瓦拉)  整理:Geilien.cn   字号 [] [] []  

Top Biden administration officials urged Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to abandon plans to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than 1.4 million Palestinian civilians seek safety, as U.S.-Israel tensions brew over Israel's conduct in its six-month-old war against Hamas.

拜登行政当局高级官员敦促以色列国防部长约夫·加兰特(Yoav Gallant)放弃攻入加沙南部城市拉法的计划,那里有超过140万巴勒斯坦平民寻求安全。目前以色列打击哈马斯的战争已经持续了六个月,以方在战争中的做法使美以之间的矛盾不断发酵。


In meetings Monday and Tuesday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed U.S. support for Israel's right to defend itself while reiterating opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned ground offensive to target Hamas in Gaza's southernmost city on the border with Egypt.

在周一和周二的会议上,国防部长劳埃德·奥斯汀(Lloyd Austin)和国务卿安东尼·布林肯(Antony Blinken)重申美国支持以色列自卫的权利,同时重申反对总理本雅明·内塔尼亚胡(Benjamin Netanyahu)计划对这个加沙最南端与埃及接壤的城市发动地面进攻。以色列表示,为了剿灭哈马斯的军事力量,必须攻入拉法。


"Our goal [is] to help Israel find an alternative to a full-scale and perhaps premature military operation that could endanger the over 1 million civilians that are sheltering in Rafah," a senior U.S. defense official told reporters Tuesday, briefing on the condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the Pentagon.



A major ground operation in Rafah would further jeopardize the welfare of Palestinian civilians, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Monday. He added that Blinken underscored to Gallant that "alternatives exist" that would both better ensure Israel's security and protect Palestinian civilians.

美国国务院发言人马修·米勒(Matthew Miller)周一表示,在拉法进行的大规模地面行动将进一步危及巴勒斯坦平民的福祉。他补充说,布林肯向加兰特强调,“替代方案是存在的”,既能更好地确保以色列的安全,又能保护巴勒斯坦平民。


Amid a looming famine in Gaza, Austin warned of the "humanitarian catastrophe" in the Palestinian enclave, describing civilian casualties as "far too high" and aid deliveries as "far too low." His remarks echoed Blinken's calls for Israel "to immediately surge and sustain" more aid.



The Netanyahu government has denied accusations by international aid agencies and the United Nations that Israel is blocking aid and provoking famine in Gaza as part of its strategy to root out Hamas.



Similar admonitions were likely being conveyed by White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan. In a sign of potentially complicated talks, Sullivan's meeting with Gallant, originally scheduled for Monday, was extended an extra day.

白宫国家安全顾问杰克·沙利文(Jake Sullivan)可能也发出了类似的警告。沙利文与加兰特原定于周一举行的会面被延长了一天,这表明会谈可能十分复杂。


"They believed it was important to continue the conversation," said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

“他们认为继续对话很重要,”白宫新闻秘书卡琳·让-皮埃尔(Karine Jean-Pierre)说。


Sullivan told reporters last week that President Joe Biden himself had warned Netanyahu an invasion in Rafah would be a mistake and urged him to have a "coherent and sustainable strategy" to defeat Hamas.

沙利文上周告诉记者,乔·拜登(Joe Biden)总统本人曾警告内塔尼亚胡攻入拉法将是一个错误,并敦促他制定“连贯且可持续的战略”来击败哈马斯。


'Don't do it'


Netanyahu insists that the goal of "total victory" against Hamas cannot be achieved without going into Rafah, where Israel says there are four Hamas battalions composed of thousands of fighters.



Initially, the Biden administration said they would not support a Rafah offensive without sufficient protection of civilians.



Now, they're telling Israel, "Don't do it," said Aaron David Miller, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former U.S. negotiator in Middle East peace talks.

卡内基国际和平基金会(Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)高级研究员、美国前中东和平谈判代表亚伦·戴维·米勒(Aaron David Miller)表示,如今,拜登政府告诉以色列,“不要这么做”。


"It's not now a question of making sure that the population is somehow safeguarded," he told VOA. "They just don't want the Israelis to do it."



Despite the pressure piled on Gallant this week, the decision on Rafah would have to be taken by the Israeli War Cabinet, whose members in addition to Gallant include Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, former minister of defense and deputy prime minister, as well as two observers — opposition politician Gadi Eisenkot and Ron Dermer, Netanyahu's close adviser.

尽管加兰特本周面临巨大压力,但有关拉法的决定必须由以色列战时内阁做出,除加兰特外,内阁成员还包括内塔尼亚胡和前国防部长兼副总理本尼·甘茨(Benny Gantz)以及两名观察员 ——反对派政治人物加迪·艾森科特(Gadi Eisenkot)和内塔尼亚胡的亲密顾问罗恩·德默(Ron Dermer)。


Gallant's meetings have been the main high-level consultation mechanism between the U.S. and its ally, as Netanyahu abruptly canceled plans for a visit by a separate Israeli delegation.



That was done in protest of Washington's abstention at the U.N. that allowed the adoption of a Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and the release of hostages held by Hamas.



Netanyahu accused the U.S. of shifting from its prior position of conditioning the cease-fire call on the release of hostages, which the administration denies.



More weapons


Gallant, a security hawk who supports a ground operation in Rafah, had aimed to use his Washington visit to ramp up the transfer of American weapons. In remarks ahead of his meeting with Austin, he said he wants to "ensure Israel's military edge and capabilities."



Israel needs U.S. arms not only for the campaign in Gaza but also to prepare for further escalation in the north of the country with Hezbollah in Lebanon, said Brian Finucane, senior adviser for the U.S. Program at the International Crisis Group. Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, the two sides have exchanged fire through thousands of rocket and missile launches.

国际危机组织(International Crisis Group)美国项目高级顾问布莱恩·菲努坎(Brian Finucane)表示,以色列不仅需要美国武器来应对加沙地带的军事行动,还需要为以色列北部与黎巴嫩真主党的冲突进一步升级做准备。


"The U.S. has real leverage here," Finucane told VOA. "The best-case scenario would be if the U.S. actually did use its abundant leverage, both unilaterally and multilaterally, to try to bring about a cease-fire."



While Biden has begun using his diplomatic leverage by abstaining at the U.N., he is unlikely to condition or restrict military aid to Israel as he aims to keep the conflict from spreading.



"The last thing he should want to do is to send an unmistakable signal to Hezbollah and Iran that we're not prepared to back the Israelis, if, in fact, there is an escalation in the Israeli northern border," said Miller.



The most fundamental goal for Biden right now, he said, is reaching a deal in the cease-fire negotiations in Qatar. Hamas says it will release hostages only as part of a deal that would end the war, while Israel says it will discuss only a temporary pause.



US arms for Israel


The U.S. has committed to provide Israel with nearly $4 billion a year in aid through 2028, most of it in the form of military assistance. Approximately $3.3 billion per year is given under the Foreign Military Financing program, funds that Israel must use to purchase U.S. military equipment and services.

美国承诺到2028年每年向以色列提供近40亿美元的援助,其中大部分以军事援助的形式。美国计划按照“对外军事融资”(Foreign Military Financing),每年提供约33亿美元,以色列必须使用这些资金购买美国的军事装备和服务。


Since the Gaza war began, the administration has quietly delivered more than 100 separate foreign military sales to Israel. The arms transfers were processed without public debate because the administration broke up the sales packages in amounts below the threshold that requires them to notify Congress, according to a defense official who spoke to VOA on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive military matter.



Under pressure from Democratic lawmakers, last month the White House released a National Security Memorandum requiring the U.S. secretary of state to "obtain credible and reliable written assurances" from foreign governments that U.S. weapons are used in accordance with international and humanitarian law.



Gallant delivered Israel's required written assurances ahead of the deadline on Sunday. Under the memorandum, the State Department has until early May to formally assess and report to Congress whether those assurances are "credible and reliable." Without it, Biden has the option of suspending further U.S. arms transfers.



So far, Biden has not indicated any willingness to do so. In his call with Netanyahu last week, the president "didn't make threats," Sullivan said. "Each of them recognizes that we are at a critical moment in this conflict."



Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.