NewsBiden warns Netanyahu against large ground operation in Rafah

Biden warns Netanyahu against large ground operation in Rafah

USA told Israel directly, "We don't want to see operations in Rafah."
USA told Israel directly, "We don't want to see operations in Rafah."
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8:11 AM EDT, May 7, 2024

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby revealed that President Joe Biden was explicit in his conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu, stating, "We do not want to see a large ground operation in Rafah." Kirby shared details of the discussion.

"The President was very clear in his conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu: we do not want to see a large ground operation in Rafah that would put over a million people at greater risk. We were very direct and consistent," Kirby explained during the Monday White House briefing.

Rafah, known as the last stronghold of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, also serves as a sanctuary for over a million Palestinian internal refugees from other areas. The United States has been actively trying to dissuade Israel from initiating the planned military action, concerned about the potential impact on the civilian population. Despite this, Israeli authorities announced on Monday their consideration for the operation.

Regarding media reports, including those from Axios, about the suspension of two batches of arms supplies from the USA to Israel as a method of exerting pressure on the Israeli government, Kirby neither confirmed nor denied these reports. However, he stressed that the USA's commitment to Israel's security is "ironclad."

Kirby mentioned that the conversation occurred before the announcement by Hamas that it had accepted a ceasefire proposal in exchange for the release of some hostages. He noted that President Biden was briefed on Hamas's decision but chose not to comment on it publicly. The response from Hamas is currently being examined by the US lead negotiator, CIA Director Bill Burns, and is a topic of discussion with US allies in the Middle East.

Furthermore, the White House indicated that, during the talks, Netanyahu also agreed to reopen the Kerem Shalom border crossing for humanitarian aid. This crossing had been shut to Israeli soldiers following an attack by Hamas on Sunday.

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