Home west asia Biden Speaks Again To Netanyahu, Reiterates Opposition To An Operation In Rafah

Biden Speaks Again To Netanyahu, Reiterates Opposition To An Operation In Rafah

Joe Biden with Benjamin Netanyahu
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden attends a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he visits Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv. (Evelyn Hockstein/REUTERS)

President Biden has once again spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday. In an official readout of the topics discussed during the call between the two leaders by the White House, it said that while President Biden “reaffirmed his ironclad commitment to Israel’s security” it also affirmed that the President “discussed increases in the delivery of humanitarian assistance into Gaza including through preparations to open new northern crossings starting this week. The President stressed the need for this progress to be sustained and enhanced in full coordination with humanitarian organizations. The leaders discussed Rafah and the President reiterated his clear position.”

President Biden made clear that he opposes any move by Tel Aviv to carry out a ground operation in Rafah, where over one million Palestinians are currently taking refuge. While Israel believes a ground operation in Rafah is needed to destroy the last vestiges of Hamas, the US has said there are other ways to send a message to the militant organisation which is believed to be hiding there

“We could not support a Rafah ground operation without an appropriate, credible, executable humanitarian plan precisely because of the complications for delivery of assistance,” David Satterfield, U.S. special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues, had told reporters.

“We continue discussions with Israel on what we believe are alternate ways of addressing a challenge which we recognise, which is Hamas military present in Rafah.”

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Biden is under huge pressure to conclude a hostage deal and a ceasefire as dissent has grown in the US and even within his own administration over the war on Gaza. Currently, indirect hostage talks are taking place between Israel and Hamas in Egypt and the US and Israel have blamed Hamas for the talks. Israel’s recent proposal has been that they would consider the release of 33 hostages in return for a limited ceasefire. This is not acceptable to Hamas. Hamas’s spokesperson Khalil Al-Hayya, said that it would only lay down arms if a Palestinian state is established along pre-1967 borders, a full ceasefire to the war in Gaza and the full withdrawal of Israeli forces, which Israel has so far refused.

(With inputs from agencies)