World News

Biden warns Netanyahu against major Rafah offensive

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden warned the Israeli Prime Minister on Monday of urgency Benjamin Netanyahu against the launch of an offensive in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, as the rift between the two leaders continues to widen alongside the growing number of Palestinian deaths.

The call between Biden and Netanyahu took place as Israel seemed to be getting closer to a major military operation to eliminate Hamas militants in Rafah — something Biden and his top aides have repeatedly told Israeli officials would only lead to more deaths and deepening despair in the war-ravaged territory.

Both leaders face growing public pressure — Biden from protests on college campuses and Netanyahu from the families of some Israeli hostages — for a ceasefire deal.

“The president does not want to see operations in Rafah that endanger the more than a million people seeking refuge there,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said.

The White House called the 30-minute conversation between the leaders “constructive.” Privately, however, administration officials’ concern grew when Israel on Monday ordered about 100,000 Palestinians to evacuate Rafah and began carrying out “targeted” strikes in the eastern part of the city. .

White House officials were closely watching the unfolding and intensifying Israeli action in Rafah with deep concern, but did not believe it amounted to the full-scale attack that Netanyahu was threatening, according to a person familiar with the matter. administration and who was not authorized to comment publicly.

More than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war that began after Hamas launched an attack on Israel on October 7 that left 1,200 people dead. Some 250 people were also taken hostage in the brazen attack.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation is rapidly deteriorating in large areas of Gaza. The head of the United Nations World Food Program, Cindy McCain, said on Sunday that northern Gaza had entered “a real famine” after almost seven months of war.

Before the leaders’ call, Israel announced it was ordering Palestinians to begin evacuating Rafah. Shortly after this order, Hamas said in a statement that it had accepted an Egyptian-Qatari ceasefire proposal.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Israel would continue operations in Gaza while officials deliberate over the ceasefire proposal approved by Hamas. And Israel’s War Cabinet voted unanimously in favor of a military operation in Rafah, but said it would continue ceasefire efforts.

The new targeted strikes in eastern Rafah appear aimed at maintaining pressure on Hamas as talks continue.

Kirby said Biden was informed of Hamas’ response that it would accept a hostage deal. CIA Director William Burns, who was in Qatar for hostage negotiations with regional officials, was discussing the Hamas statement with its regional allies. Kirby declined to discuss the parameters of what Hamas claims to have agreed to.

“Bill Burns is studying this answer. He’s talking to the Israelis about it,” Kirby told reporters. “And we’ll see where that goes.” Hopefully this can get these hostages out very, very soon.

In recent days, Egyptian and Hamas officials have said the ceasefire will take place in a series of steps during which Hamas would release the hostages it holds in exchange for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.

Biden also told Netanyahu that he still believed a ceasefire with Hamas was the best way to protect the lives of Israeli hostages held in Gaza, officials said. Israel says Hamas is holding around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others in Gaza. The leaders’ call came before Hamas announced it had accepted a ceasefire proposal.

Following his call with Netanyahu, Biden hosted King Abdullah II of Jordan for a private lunch meeting at the White House for discussions on the war and hostage negotiations. The Jordanian Embassy in Washington said in a message posted on the social networking site

On Sunday, Netanyahu rejected international pressure to end the war in Gaza. in a fiery speech marking the country’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, declaring: “If Israel is forced to be alone, Israel will be alone.”

“I say to world leaders: no pressure, no decision from an international forum will prevent Israel from defending itself,” he said in English. “Never again, it’s now.”

In their phone call, Netanyahu told Biden that he would ensure that the Kerem Shalom crossing between Gaza and Israel remained open for humanitarian aid deliveries, according to the White House.

Israeli officials last week briefed Biden administration officials on evacuation plan Palestinian civilians before a possible operation, according to American officials familiar with the matter.

Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin previously stressed to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant that Israel needed a “credible plan” to evacuate these civilians and maintain humanitarian aid. Ryder said Austin had seen “concepts” from the Israelis of their Rafah operation plan “but nothing detailed at this point.”


AP writers Tara Copp in Washington and Josef Federman in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

News Source :
Gn world

jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
Back to top button