Biden tells war-monger Netanyahu Rafah invasion would be 'mistake'

Biden tells war-monger Netanyahu Rafah invasion would be 'mistake'
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Fecha de publicación: 
19 March 2024
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US President Joe Biden has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that a ground invasion in Rafah would be a "mistake," as they spoke for the first time in a month amid growing tensions over the war in besieged Gaza.

"The president explained why he is so deeply concerned about the prospect of Israel conducting major military operations in Rafah," White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Monday.

It comes as US Democrats fear that domestic opposition to the war could hurt Biden's reelection chances in November.

"A major ground operation there would be a mistake — it would lead to more innocent civilian deaths, worsen the already dire humanitarian crisis, deepen the anarchy in Gaza, and further isolate Israel internationally."

Roughly 1.5 million people are sheltering in Rafah, most of them displaced by Israel's brutal war on Gaza.

Biden had asked Netanyahu during the call to dispatch a delegation to the United States to "hear US concerns" about its Rafah plan and "lay out an alternative approach."

Netanyahu "obviously has his own point of view on a Rafah operation" but had agreed to send the team of military, intelligence and aid officials in the coming days, Sullivan added.

"At the same time, I believe that to get to that you need a strategy that works and that strategy should not involve a major military operation that puts thousands and thousands of lives civilian innocent lives at risk and Rafah. There is a better way,'" he added, recalling Biden's comments during the call.

Sullivan also pointed to Rafah's role as a primary entry point for international deliveries of humanitarian aid, adding that "invasion would shut that down or at least put it at grave risk right at the moment when it is most sorely needed."

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Israel's ethnically cleansing objectives

Netanyahu agreed to Biden's request to send a team of top Israeli security officials to Washington to discuss its Rafah plans.

But Netanyahu said he had insisted to Biden on achieving Israel's war aim of eliminating resistance group Hamas, underscoring US difficulties in influencing its key ally.

Netanyahu said in a statement after the Biden call that he had reiterated "Israel's commitment to achieving all of the war's objectives."

The Israeli premier cited the objectives as eliminating Hamas resistance group, releasing all hostages held by the group and "ensuring that Gaza will never present a threat to Israel."

Palestinians says Israel wants to ethnically cleanse them and reoccupy Gaza.

Biden's call was the first since he was caught on a hot mic saying he would have a "come-to-Jesus meeting" with Netanyahu.

As his frustrations with Netanyahu escalated, Biden pointedly praised a "good speech" last week by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calling for new elections in Israel and Netanyahu's ouster.

With the UN warning of imminent starvation in Gaza, Biden earlier this month ordered the US military to start airdrops of food into the enclave and has sent a temporary US port there to speed up delivery of maritime aid.

Billions from ally

The US declared its support for Israel since the beginning of the war in Gaza on October 7 last year. Washington never holds back in arming Israel, regardless of alarming Gaza civilian casualties.

The United States gives Israel $3.8 billion in annual military dole. It has given Tel Aviv more military aid than any other country since WW2, providing aid worth more than $124 billion.

Asked about reports that some of Biden and Netanyahu's conversations have been angry and finished with the US president hanging up, Sullivan described Monday's call as "businesslike" and said it "did not end abruptly."

Explaining why the two leaders had not spoken for 32 days, Sullivan said Biden reserves his calls for Netanyahu for "when he believes there is a key strategic moment."

Israeli invasion in besieged Gaza has killed at least 31,726 Palestinians and wounded 73,792 others.

The Israeli war has pushed 85 percent of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of most food, clean water, and medicine, while 60 percent of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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