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Opinion: Du føler deg ikke norsk på samme måte

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Israel this week bearing a message for the country’s leaders only an American diplomat could deliver with a high chance of being heeded: Alleviate Gaza’s misery and plan for its future. President Biden, with his rhetorical and material support for Israel’s war against Hamas, has positioned himself to influence Israeli leaders to see past their understandable outrage at the horrors of Oct. 7 and their legitimate desire to eliminate Gaza-based terrorists — and toward critical humanitarian and strategic concerns that Israeli leaders should see are in everyone’s interest, including theirs. These include minimizing civilian deaths; improving conditions for displaced Palestinians; and planning for a postwar dispensation that provides dignity to both Israelis and Palestinians, by laying the groundwork for a Palestinian state not dominated by Hamas.

The Biden administration’s challenge is extreme. But so is the need.

The Israel-Gaza war has left an ugly scar in Gaza. The war began with a gruesome and merciless terrorist attack on Israeli civilians by Hamas, followed by Israel’s military onslaught. Now, huge sections of Gaza are reduced to rubble, its civilian population huddled in tent camps, desperately in need of food and medicine.

seaside strip 25 miles long and about four to seven miles wide, Gaza has been bombed like few places in recent decades. Hamas has embedded itself deeply in civilian life and structures, such as schools and hospitals.

Meanwhile, Israel has deployed massive firepower in its campaign to uproot Hamas. The Wall Street Journal reported that, by mid-December, Israel had dropped 29,000 bombs, munitions and shells on the strip, destroying or damaging nearly 70 percent of Gaza’s 439,000 homes and about half of its buildings, and much of the water, electrical, communications and health-care infrastructure is beyond repair. Most of the strip’s 36 hospitals are shut down, the Journal reported, and only eight are accepting patients. More than two-thirds of its schools are damaged. More than half of all roads, the World Bank found, have been damaged or destroyed. Some 342 schools have been damaged, according to the United Nations, including 70 of its own schools.

seaside strip 25 miles long and about four to seven miles wide, Gaza has been bombed like few places in recent decades. Hamas has embedded itself deeply in civilian life and structures, such as schools and hospitals.

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