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Netanyahu Stands Firm on Rafah Strategy Despite U.S. Appeals

Netanyahu Stands Firm on Rafah Strategy Despite U.S. Appeals
Source: Getty Images

Ahead of key talks in Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has firmly rejected a plea from the United States to cease the offensive in Rafah, Gaza. This development comes as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded his visit to the Middle East, a trip that saw no progress in persuading Israel to alter its course of action.

The standoff between the U.S. and Israel has set the stage for potentially strained discussions when Israeli officials visit Washington next week. Despite the U.S. expressing concerns over the humanitarian implications of a ground invasion in Rafah, Netanyahu has stated Israel's readiness to proceed alone if necessary.

The Rafah offensive has been a point of contention, with Israel asserting that the area is a stronghold for Hamas militants. The Israeli government has vowed to dismantle Hamas following the group's attack on October 7, which resulted in significant casualties and the taking of hostages, triggering a severe response from Israel.

The international community, including the U.S., fears that a ground invasion could endanger the lives of civilians and disrupt the flow of humanitarian aid. Netanyahu, however, has communicated to Blinken that Israel is exploring ways to evacuate civilians and address the humanitarian needs in Gaza, where a famine is said to be imminent.