In recent weeks, Uzra Zeya, the Subsecretary of State for Civil Security, Democracy, and Human Rights in the U.S. government, has dedicated considerable effort to alleviating the suffering of Gazans amid Israel's military offensive. In this article, we delve into Zeya's views on the conflict, U.S. actions, and the international response.
U.S. Efforts to Minimize Civilian Casualties
Zeya emphasizes intense U.S. efforts to address urgent humanitarian needs, maximize aid entry, and mitigate harm to civilians. The U.S. government maintains constant communication with Israeli counterparts, urging adherence to international legality while supporting Israel's right to self-defense.
Blinken's Concerns and Israel's Response
Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern over Palestinian casualties, prompting questions about Israel's compliance with U.S. requests. Zeya highlights constructive Israeli responses, such as tactical humanitarian pauses and the establishment of safe corridors for civilian evacuation.
U.S. Abstention in UN Resolution Vote
The U.S. decision to abstain from a UN resolution, calling for humanitarian pauses and the release of hostages, is clarified. Zeya cites two reasons: the resolution's failure to condemn Hamas' terrorism on October 7 and the absence of acknowledgment of nations' right to defend against terrorism.
Allegations of War Crimes by Israel and Hamas
Zeya acknowledges Hamas' indiscriminate attacks on civilians as clear war crimes. Regarding Israel, she stresses ongoing monitoring and careful use of the term 'war crime,' asserting that Israel strives to minimize civilian casualties amid Hamas' use of human shields.
Hospital Attacks and U.S. Position
Denying allegations of greenlighting Israeli attacks on Al Shifa hospital, Zeya reinforces the U.S. stance: hospitals, patients, and healthcare staff must be protected. However, she notes Hamas' historical misuse of civilian infrastructure for military purposes.
Future Plans for Gaza
Zeya affirms U.S. commitment, aligned with Spain, to a two-state solution and outlines non-negotiables for Gaza's future, rejecting forced displacement, terrorism launch platforms, continued blockades, or territorial reductions. Long-term collaboration for reconstruction involves the Palestinian Authority, regional governments, and transatlantic allies.
Shifting U.S. Public Opinion
Addressing the decline in U.S. support for Israel, Zeya acknowledges democratic debates on foreign policy. Concerns about rising antisemitism and Islamophobia, coupled with tragic incidents, add complexity to the evolving discourse.
Uzra Zeya's stance reflects a nuanced U.S. approach—supportive of Israel's defense while urging adherence to international law. This analysis provides a comprehensive overview of her perspectives on key aspects of the Israel-Gaza conflict.