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Netanyahu Vows to Launch Rafah Invasion ‘With or Without a Deal’ to Free Hostages


By: Jake Smith, Daily Caller News Foundation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel will invade Rafah “with or without” a deal to free the hostages in Gaza.

The Israeli government sees an invasion into Rafah, the southernmost part of Gaza, as critical to winning the war against Hamas as the terrorist group’s remaining battalions are strewn throughout the region. Netanyahu repeated his vow to invade Rafah despite pressure from the Biden administration and the international community not to do so due to the risks it could pose to the civilians and refugee population in the region.

“The idea that we will halt the war before achieving all of its goals is out of the question,” Netanyahu said during a meeting with representatives of the hostage families. “We will enter Rafah and we will eliminate the Hamas battalions there — with or without a deal — in order to achieve the total victory.”

The families told Netanyahu to “withstand the international pressure” and see to it that the goals of the war are achieved, according to the prime minister’s office.

President Joe Biden said in March that an Israeli invasion of Rafah would be crossing a “red line” unless guarantees could be made that the civilian population is out of harm’s way. Biden went further in April and appeared to threatenconditioning military aid unless Israel addressed civilian casualties in Gaza.

Conversations between the Biden administration and the Israeli government regarding an operation are ongoing, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters on Thursday.

“We continue to not hesitate about being clear-eyed about any opposition that we have as it relates to a military operation in Rafah that does not address the very serious humanitarian concerns that we have,” Patel said during a press briefing.

Israel and Hamas are currently negotiating through international meditators a temporary ceasefire deal in exchange for the release of hostages. Israel is prepared to send a delegation to Eygpt this week for further negotiations, having warned that the proposed deal on the table is the last chance to delay an offensive in Rafah, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Related Story: ‘It’s All Speculation’: U.S., Israel Reportedly Don’t Know How Many Hostages are Still Alive in Gaza

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