“We have absolutely no intention, nor do we have any plans, to send combat troops into Israel or Gaza, period,” Harris said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday.
Harris, who has been included in briefings and phone calls on the Middle East crisis, closely stuck to the administration’s approach: Supporting Israel’s right to defend itself while also calling for the protection of civilians.
“By most estimates, at least 1,400 Israelis are dead. Israel, without any question, has a right to defend itself,” she stated.
“That being said, it is very important that there be no conflation between Hamas and the Palestinians. The Palestinians deserve equal measures of safety and security, self-determination and dignity, and we have been very clear that the rules of war must be adhered to and that there be humanitarian aid that flows.”
President Joe Biden has been increasing his calls to ramp up humanitarian aid into Gaza this weekend in conversations with world leaders. On Sunday, he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi about the need for the continued flow of aid into Gaza and stressed the importance of protecting civilian lives.
The assault on Gaza has left thousands of Palestinian civilians dead and worsened the humanitarian crisis in the enclave. Aid has been slow to enter, and civilians, including hundreds of Americans, have been unable to leave. While some aid has made its way to Gaza, humanitarian workers say it’s a fraction of what’s required for the 2.2 million people crammed into the strip under a blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt.
Amid concerns about the conflict spreading beyond Gaza, Harris also repeated Biden’s warnings to Iran not to get involved.
“Don’t,” she stressed, adding, “One word. Pretty straightforward.”
Iranian officials say Tehran was not involved in the Hamas attack on Israel but warn the Zionist regime’s crimes against the people of Gaza could “ricochet far-reaching consequences”.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has recently stated despite duplicitous messages sent by the American leaders, Washington is fanning the flames of Israel’s ongoing war on the Gaza Strip by sending arms consignments to the occupied territories.
“Unfortunately, the United States has been offering its one-sided and full support to the Zionist regime,” Amirabdollahian continued, adding, “Today, the American security apparatus is managing” Israel’s war on Gaza.
“The administrative and political system in the occupied territories has completely fallen apart, but under direct supervision of American military personnel, the regime’s war machine is trying to save the collapsed [Israeli] regime from crisis,” he stated.
US forces have been attacked 20 times throughout Iraq and Syria since October 17, Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder has confirmed in a statement on Friday.
Washington has accused Iran-backed militias, but admitted there is no evidence to pin blame on Tehran’s leadership for ordering the strikes.
Amirabdollahian has denied that Iran had instructed groups in Syria and Iraq to target US troops in recent days.
He stated it was Washington — not Tehran — that was fanning the violence in the region.
Iran has repeatedly warned the United States against any act of mischief in the region.