Vice President Kamala Harris said the U.S. does not plan to send its troops into the battle zone as the Israel-Hamas war continues to rage.
In an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” broadcast Sunday, Harris said the U.S. is helping its ally Israel by providing guidance and equipment but is by no means instructing the country on how to move forward.
Asked how likely the ongoing war is to turn into a regional conflict that requires the involvement of U.S. soldiers, Harris replied: “We have absolutely no intention nor do we have any plans to send combat troops into Israel or Gaza, period.”
The vice president repeated the administration’s position that Israel has a right to defend itself following the brutal attack the Hamas militant group launched on Oct. 7, killing 1,400 people and taking over 200 hostages.
Israel launched airstrikes and blockades on the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas, after the Oct. 7 attack. So far, over 8,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom are women and minors, have died since the violence erupted, Gaza’s Health Ministry said.
“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,” Harris said.
Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, told CNN’s “State of the Union” the White House has been asking Israelis “hard questions” about their military operation, including about their plans for the future once the fighting ends.
“We have pressed them on questions like objectives and matching means to objectives, about both tactical and strategic issues associated with this operation,” he said.
Biden has said it is clear that things won’t return to the status quo, calling on Israeli and Arab leaders to work towards a two-state solution. However, experts have noted the prospects of that happening are incredibly low.
Sullivan said that Hamas is making it difficult for Israel to protect civilians by using them as human shields, but that “does not lessen Israel’s responsibility, under international humanitarian law, to distinguish between terrorists and civilians and to protect the lives of innocent people.”
Over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the war was entering its “second stage” as Israel’s forces made advances into Gaza City. Netanyahu warned this would be a “long and difficult war,” as casualties are expected to rise on both sides.
Harris also noted that while the eyes of the world might be on the current Middle East conflict, the Biden administration remains focused on aiding Ukraine in its fight against Moscow.
“We are as committed to Ukraine as we’ve always been to authorize additional aid to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked aggression,” she told CBS’ Bill Whitaker. “That is not gonna waver.”
While the White House has proposed an over $100 billion spending bill including aid for both Ukraine and Israel, House Republicans appear to have a different plan in mind.
Newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said the GOP is prepared to approve a $14 billion package targeted to just Israel, but that his party will need more assurances and concessions from Biden before they agree on further support for Kyiv.