John Kerry Urges 'Precise' Ground War in Gaza

Diplomat Calls for Restraint — Focus on Terror Tunnels

By JTA

Published July 18, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Expressing concern about civilian casualties, U.S. State Secretary John Kerry said Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip should be a “precise” one, targeting Hamas tunnels.

Kerry made the appeal during a telephone conversation late Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the U.S. State Department said in a statement issued hours after the Israel Defense Force entered Gaza.

“The secretary reaffirmed our strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorist threats emanating from tunnels into Israel and expressed our view that this should be a precise operation to target tunnels, as described in a statement from the Israeli Defense Forces,” Kerry said in the statement distributed by the White House.

The IDF spokesman said on Twitter that the army had so far targeted four tunnels and 21 rocket launchers.

An Israeli soldier died in the incursion. Eitan Barak, 20, was shot in the northern Gaza Strip, Haaretz reported. In Gaza, the Israeli incursion resulted in the death of five Palestinians early Friday, according to the Ma’an news agency, including a baby. The IDF spokesman said on Twitter that 17 terrorists were killed and 13 were captured.

Kerry in his statement said he asked Netanyahu to limit civilian casualties. Separately, his spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said Thursday that Kerry had told Netanyahu that “certainly there’s more that can be done” to prevent civilian casualties. She cited particularly the deaths Wednesday of four boys playing soccer on a beach.

So far, two Israelis and more than 200 Palestinians have died since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 in response to rocket fire from Gaza. The operation, which began with air strikes, was broadened Thursday to include ground incursions.

Following the move, Jordan called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. Psaki said Kerry was in touch with the leaders of Egypt, which borders Gaza and which proffered a cease-fire Hamas rejected earlier this week, and Qatar, the Arab country closest to Hamas.

The IDF called 18,000 reserves troops for duty in connection with the activity in Gaza, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.

In parallel, several rockets launched from Gazas hit unpopulated areas near Be’ar Sheva and Ashdod, Army Radio reported.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.