Netanyahu agrees to send officials to Washington to discuss the Rafah strategy

Israel will send a delegation to brief US officials on the planned attack in Rafah following a phone call between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday.

Sullivan told reporters at the daily White House press conference that Biden and Netanyahu spoke about the ongoing Israeli campaign in Gaza and plans for the Israeli attack on Rafah. Administration officials, including Biden, said the United States would not support such an attack “without a credible plan” by the Israelis.

He added that Biden “explained why he was deeply concerned about the possibility of Israel undertaking major military operations in Rafah” if such operations were “of the type conducted in Gaza City and Khan Yunis” in the months following the October 7 attacks. Hamas killed more than 1,000 Israelis.

“More than a million people have taken refuge in Rafah… They have nowhere else to go in Gaza where other major cities have been largely destroyed,” he said. “Israel has not presented to us or the world a plan for how we will be located where they can safely transport these civilians, let alone Feed them, shelter them and ensure access to basic things like sanitation.”

Mr. Sullivan also noted that the Rafah crossing remains “the main entry point for humanitarian aid into Gaza from Egypt and from Israel,” and said that any Israeli invasion of that city “would close that city or at least expose it to serious danger at the time it is closed.” “. It is urgently needed.” He also pointed to Egyptian fears that the Rafah invasion would lead to a stream of refugees flowing across the Gaza border into Egypt, a development that Egypt said would prompt them to withdraw from the decades-old Camp David peace treaty with Israel.

See also  The Italian government seeks to punish the use of English words

He added, “Our position is that Hamas should not be allowed a safe haven… We are further isolating Israel internationally.”

He added that he had asked Netanyahu to send what he described as a “high-level interagency team consisting of military intelligence and humanitarian officials” to Washington so they could “listen to US concerns about current Israeli planning for Rafah and…an alternative approach that could be resolved.” It will target key Hamas elements in Rafah and secure the Egyptian border with Gaza without a major ground invasion.

“The prime minister… agreed to send a team to Washington to have this discussion and have this engagement and we look forward to those discussions,” he said.

Biden and Netanyahu have known each other for decades. In the days following the October 7 attacks, Biden visited Israel and expressed strong support for it, but as the conflict continued, their tense relationship soured.

At a news conference last month, Biden said Netanyahu's response had become “over the top” — marking the United States' first major break with the Israeli government's response. Netanyahu rejected Biden's rejection, and told the lecturers on the program Fox and friends Program: “We don't stop for the gas.”

Tensions between the two leaders over the planned Israeli invasion of Rafah have continued for a month as the number of Palestinian civilians killed in the post-October 7 operation mounted, and pro-Palestinian demonstrators routinely disrupted Biden's public events, even as Netanyahu did so. He rejected US officials' appeals to his forces to pay more attention to avoiding civilian casualties.

When asked why Biden felt that the talks being held by the Israeli delegation might be more productive than his previous contacts with Netanyahu, Sullivan described the talks as “a natural development of the discussion between the partners.”

See also  Kremlin bizarrely claims Ukraine demilitarization goal 'largely completed'

“We have had many discussions at many different levels among our military, intelligence, diplomats and humanitarian experts, but we have not yet had the opportunity to have a comprehensive, integrated and strategic discussion on how to achieve this,” he added. “The final defeat of Hamas, the protection of civilians, and the stability of Gaza in a way that leads to security.” “Israel in the long term as well as protecting innocent human lives in Gaza.”

This call and news of planned meetings between Israeli and American officials come just days after the Israeli Prime Minister expressed his anger at Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's speech calling for new elections in Israel.

“Netanyahu’s coalition no longer fits Israel’s needs,” Schumer said in a speech to Congress on Thursday. “The Israeli people are now being suffocated by a vision of governance stuck in the past.”

Schumer, who as New York's ranking senator represents the state with the largest population of Jewish Americans in the country, reportedly informed the White House about the speech in advance.

Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with Joe Biden on Monday

(Getty Images)

Biden later praised his speech, saying: “He gave a good speech, and I think he expressed serious concern not only with him, but also with many Americans.”

Mr. Netanyahu Criticize She called Mr. Schumer's words to CNN on Sunday “wholly inappropriate.”

“It is inappropriate to go to a sister democracy and try to replace the elected leadership there,” he told host Dana Bash. “This is something the Israeli public does on its own. We are not a banana republic.”

See also  Hamas video shows the release of a woman and two children News of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Monday's call between the two leaders also focused on efforts to provide aid to Gaza. Earlier this month, the United States announced it would conduct airdrops to help Gazans amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The Biden administration also announced that it will build a seaport for emergency aid off the coast of Gaza.

This call comes at a time when Biden is facing criticism from many Democrats regarding his position on the conflict. A segment of Democratic primary voters in states including Michigan, Washington state, North Carolina, and Minnesota voted “noncommittal” as a way to express their dissatisfaction with the Biden administration’s support for Israel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *