Joe Biden The US President also expressed his concerns to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the planned Israeli military operation in Rafah in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, when the two leaders spoke by phone for the first time since mid-January.
According to a statement from the White House, the president explained that military action in Rafah cannot continue until there is a credible and workable plan to ensure the safety and care of the more than 1 million people there. In addition, Joe Biden urged urgent and targeted steps in humanitarian aid for Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and emphasized to the Israeli Prime Minister that in order to free the hostages in Gaza as soon as possible, it is necessary to build on the results of the negotiations so far. The announcement adds that the US president confirmed that the common goal is still to defeat the Palestinian organization Hamas, which launched an attack on Israel last October, and to establish the long-term security of Israel and its citizens.
Regarding the imminent Rafah offensive of the Israeli army, Joe Biden called the Israeli military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip an exaggeration in front of journalists on Thursday. The president was reacting to the Israeli prime minister’s announcement shortly before that the “last bastion” of Hamas is Rafah, where a military operation will soon begin.
Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview on Sunday, he said that victory was “within reach” for Israel. Speaking on Fox News, the Israeli prime minister explained that three-quarters of Hamas’ organized military units had been defeated, adding that if the remainder were not completely destroyed, it would be able to reorganize. Benjamin Netanyahu also said in the interview that freeing the hostages and defeating Hamas are not mutually exclusive goals.
This week, after the failure of talks on the release of the hostages and a temporary ceasefire, the Israeli Prime Minister stated that it is a process in which, in his opinion, Hamas is setting unacceptable conditions.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s latest trip to the Middle East ended in the middle of the week, during which he tried to give momentum to Qatar-mediated talks on the release of the hostages, which he said would continue despite Israel’s position.