Jake Sullivan denies US gave Israel military help to rescue hostages from Gaza

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan denied that the US provided direct military assistance during Israel’s operation that rescued four hostages from the Nuseirat refugee camp Saturday.

Sullivan acknowledged that the US did provide the Israel Defense Forces with general intelligence as it has done throughout the Israel-Hamas war, but was adamant that the US was not involved in the operation.

“One thing I can say is that there were no US forces, no US boots on the ground involved in this operation. We did not participate militarily in this operation,” Sullivan told CNN’s “State of the Union” in a pretaped interview for Sunday.

Jake Sullivan urged Hamas to accept the cease-fire deal. AP

“The United States has been providing support to Israel for several months in its efforts to help identify the locations of hostages in Gaza and to support efforts to try to secure their rescue or recovery,” he explained earlier. “We have generally provided support to the IDF.”

On Saturday, Israeli officials announced a successful military endeavor to rescue Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, and Shlomi Ziv from two separate locations in Nuseirat.

Those four hostages had been captured by Hamas during the bloody Oct. 7, 2023 surprise attack that is estimated to have killed some 1,200 Israelis.

Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry said the rescue operation killed 236 Palestinians and injured more than 400 others.

“We, the United States are not in a position today to make a definitive statement about that,” Sullivan said when asked about the casualty count.

“We do know this … Innocent people were tragically killed in this operation.”

“And that is heartbreaking. That is tragic.”

In the wake of Saturday’s raid, there are now believed to be about 116 hostages still in Gaza, about 41 of whom are thought to be dead, CNN reported.

Rescued hostage Noa Argamani embraces a loved one after being set free. Israeli Army/AFP via Getty Images

Sullivan stressed that he has not seen strong evidence that hostages were killed in Saturday’s rescue mission and also expressed uncertainty over Hamas’ potential response.

“It’s hard for me to put myself in the mindset of a Hamas terrorist. We don’t know exactly what it is that they’re going to do,” he said.

Looming over the operation is a ceasefire deal that President Biden championed late last month.

That deal features three key phases: Israel pulls out of heavy population centers in the Gaza Strip and the two sides exchange prisoners, Israel and Hamas would then deliberate over a permanent end to the war, and then the reconstruction of Gaza would commence.

“That would obviously be the best solution to this. In the absence of that, without Hamas saying yes to the deal, unfortunately, we are going to continue to see ongoing conflict and military operations in which Israel makes efforts to recover its citizens and, frankly, to recover American citizens,” Sullivan said.

Congress has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session on July 24.

The last time, Netanyahu had such an invite, in 2015, he delivered a scathing rebuke of then-President Barack Obama over the Iran nuclear agreement. Already, scores of Democrats are talking about a boycott.

Almog Meir Jan, one of four hostages who were kidnapped in a Hamas-led attack was rescued. AP

Sullivan demurred when asked whether Biden would meet with Netanyahu during his trip for the joint address to Congress.

“I’m not in a position to be able to announce in advance visits like that,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“My hope is that by the time the Israeli prime minister comes to address Congress, which will be near the end of July, that we will have in place this cease-fire and hostage deal,” he explained earlier.

Biden recently caused a stir with a Time magazine interview he conducted in which he conveyed uncertainty over whether Israel committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

Rescued hostages speak with their loved ones after being set free. REUTERS

Sullivan explained that the State Department put out a comprehensive report on the matter and couldn’t reach definitive conclusions.

“We do not have enough information to reach definitive conclusions about particular incidents or to make legal determinations,” he said. “Our hearts break about the loss of innocent Palestinian life.”

“The President himself has said publicly that Palestinians, innocent Palestinians, are going through sheer hell in this conflict, and a lot of that is because Hamas has put them in an impossible situation.”

Leave a Comment