South Asia and Beyond

US To Israel: Don’t Launch Ground Operations In Rafah, Will Suggest Alternatives

 US To Israel: Don’t Launch Ground Operations In Rafah, Will Suggest Alternatives

The US is likely to table an alternate plan for Israel to continue fighting Hamas without launching ground operations in Rafah, The Times of Israel reported.

Two senior US officials spoke to the newspaper and said that Washington was willing to work on alternatives for Israel to achieve its goal. The US government hinted at a possible breakthrough in talks after Israeli government accepted its request to send an inter-agency team to Washington “to hear US concerns about Israel’s current Rafah planning”.

Washington believes that it would be better for Israel to focus on preventing smuggling of weapons from Egypt into Gaza through the Philadelphi Corridor — that connects Gaza to Egypt — rather than launching an operation in Rafah.

Officials believe that one of the main reasons why Hamas was able to launch an attack on Israel on October 7 was the inability of the Egyptian government to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza.

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The US may also table another proposal where it is likely to suggest that Israel launches targeted operations against Hamas’ leadership instead of a major Rafah ground invasion. The US fears that the attack could lead to civilian casualties and with the United Nations warning about a possible famine in Gaza, Biden would want Israel to implement a massive humanitarian aid.

It is believed that close to over 300,000 Palestinians have been cut off from aid following Israel continuing operations in Gaza.

Over 1,200 people have died during the Hamas attacks on southern Israel on October 7. Close to 30,000 Palestinians have died and over 70,000 injured in the Israeli response.

Meanwhile, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that Israel would launch a ground assault on Rafah as there was no other way to destroy Hamas, despite pressure from the US not to carry out a large operation in the Gazan city. In an address to a parliamentary committee, Netanyahu accepted US President Joe Biden’s opposition to a ground operation.

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