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Israel to Put Rafah Invasion on Hold After White House Pressure


U.S. national security spokesperson John Kirby told ABC News on Sunday that Israel has agreed to discuss the Biden administration’s concerns over the protection of non-combatants before they launch any military activity in the Gazan city of Rafah.

"They've assured us that they won't go into Rafah until we've had a chance to really share our perspectives and our concerns with them," Kirby told the news outlet.

Kirby’s comments come as the White House released a statement later in the day saying that President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, where he "reiterated his clear position" that he would not support any incursion into the border city without a plan for civilian safety.

Jerusalem has maintained that there are at least 4,000 remaining Hamas fighters garrisoned in Rafah and that failing to defeat them would fall short of their stated goals of eradicating the terrorist organization.

Biden has previously threatened the Israelis with the conditioning of military assistance if the Jewish state would undertake the mission without his approval.

Netanyahu’s reported compliance has caused some criticism within the nationalistic elements of his government, with Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich warning that the current Knesset coalition would have “no right of existence” without the Rafah invasion.

Smotrich’s sentiments were shared by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who tweeted in response to the matter that a “reckless deal equals the dissolution of the government.”

Opposition leader Yair Lapid has stated that his alliance would keep the government from dissolving in the event of the abandonment of right-wing parties.

IDF spokespersons have told reporters that they plan to move the area’s residents to adequately provisioned demilitarized areas near Khan Yunis and Al-Mawasi before the commencement of any operations.

Related Story: Despite Concerns from Allies Netanyahu Committed to Entering Rafah

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