‘Deeply Concerned…’: Biden Tells Netanyahu Over Israel’s Potential Military Operations In Rafah | World News

New Delhi: US President Joe Biden expressed his grave concerns to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding potential extensive military actions in Rafah, similar to those in Gaza City and Khan Younis, as conveyed by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. In a phone call with Biden, Netanyahu consented to dispatch a mixed team of Israeli experts to Washington to deliberate on a different strategy to address key Hamas figures in Rafah and to safeguard the border between Egypt and Gaza without launching a significant ground offensive, as announced by Sullivan in a press briefing.

The conversation marked the first direct communication between the leaders in a month, focusing significantly on Rafah.

Biden detailed his serious apprehensions about Israel initiating large-scale military operations in Rafah, akin to previous campaigns in Gaza City and Khan Younis.

Sullivan highlighted that over a million individuals have sought sanctuary in Rafah, having moved from Gaza City through Khan Younis, with no alternative refuge available as other major cities in Gaza are mostly in ruins.

He further noted that Israel has yet to propose a viable plan to the US or the international community for the safe relocation, sustenance, and accommodation of these civilians, including ensuring essential services like sanitation.

Rafah serves as a crucial gateway for humanitarian aid from Egypt into Gaza, and any military action there would impede this flow.

Sullivan mentioned Egypt’s profound concern regarding a significant military operation in Rafah, which could potentially impact its future relations with Israel.

He clarified that questioning the strategy in Rafah does not equate to questioning the defeat of Hamas, dismissing such comparisons as baseless.

The US stance is clear: Hamas must not find refuge in Rafah or elsewhere. However, a substantial ground operation would be erroneous, leading to further civilian casualties, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis, contributing to chaos in Gaza, and increasing Israel’s international isolation.

Sullivan emphasized that Israel’s objectives in Rafah could be attained through alternative methods.

Biden urged Netanyahu to send a high-level team, including military, intelligence, and humanitarian personnel, to Washington soon to discuss the US’s apprehensions regarding Israel’s intentions for Rafah and to propose a different plan targeting Hamas in the city while maintaining border security, without a full-scale invasion.

Netanyahu agreed to this proposal.

The leaders also reviewed ongoing talks for an immediate ceasefire, which would extend for several weeks in exchange for releasing hostages held by Hamas and other groups in Gaza.

The aim is to leverage the ceasefire to enhance humanitarian aid delivery at a critical juncture. Despite challenges in reaching an agreement, the US remains committed to this urgent matter.

Biden reiterated his unwavering commitment to Israel’s long-term security and reiterated Israel’s right to counteract Hamas, responsible for significant atrocities against the Jewish community, as affirmed in his State of the Union address.

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