Biden reiterates to Netanyahu his opposition to an offensive in Rafah

(Washington) Joe Biden “reiterated his clear position” to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, at a time when Israel is preparing a major offensive in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, despite repeated reluctance from the United States .




Mr. Biden previously told the Israeli prime minister in April that an invasion of Rafah would be a “mistake,” and Washington has made clear that it does not support an offensive without a credible plan to protect civilians sheltering there .

“The president reiterated his clear position on Rafah,” the White House said in a statement reporting on a telephone call Monday between the two leaders.

During this call, Mr. Netanyahu also “agreed to ensure that the Kerem Shalom crossing point is open to humanitarian aid for those who need it,” added the White House, then that Israel closed this key crossing point on the border with Gaza after rocket attacks on Sunday by Hamas.

This phone call comes as the American president receives King Abdullah II of Jordan, a key ally, at the White House on Monday.

Rafah, on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, has been transformed into a gigantic refugee camp housing, according to the UN, 1.2 million Palestinians, or half of the territory’s population, most of them displaced people.

Israel launched an operation on Monday aimed at evacuating tens of thousands of Palestinian families from the eastern city of Rafah.

Despite international condemnations, the Israeli Prime Minister promised to launch this offensive, which he believes is essential to destroy the last battalions of the Islamist movement in the Palestinian territory.

“We continue to believe that a hostage release agreement is the best way to preserve the lives of the hostages and avoid an invasion of Rafah, where more than a million people have sought refuge,” the statement said. morning a spokesperson for the National Security Council.

New talks on Saturday and Sunday in Cairo were met with intransigence from both camps.

Hamas continues to demand a definitive ceasefire while Israel promises to destroy the Islamist movement in power in Gaza.

Truce discussions were expected to continue on Monday in Qatar, the main mediating country, where CIA Director William Burns is expected.

Jordan’s ally

The question remains as to what the United States, Israel’s main arms supplier, will do if Mr. Netanyahu continues this offensive in Rafah.

The American president warned that he would, if necessary, be required to “modify” his policy towards Israel, but without specifying how.

He issued this warning after the Israeli strike on 1er April, having targeted a convoy of the American NGO World Central Kitchen in Gaza, killing seven humanitarian workers.

Joe Biden, in the midst of his campaign for his re-election to the White House, is criticized for his unconditional support for Israel.

Nearly 90 US Democratic lawmakers urged him last Friday to consider cutting off arms sales to Israel if the Israeli government does not change the way it conducts the war against Hamas.

Mr. Biden’s lunch with the king of Jordan, a key US ally in the Middle East, is likely to focus on ceasefire talks and the situation in Rafah.

The meeting takes place in private, behind closed doors.

Jordan, which maintains diplomatic relations with Israel and has a large Palestinian population, is particularly sensitive to tensions in the Middle East.

The head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken recently visited the kingdom, as a first Jordanian humanitarian aid convoy left for the Gaza Strip, via a passage newly opened by Israel.

In mid-April, Amman shot down Iranian drones fired at Israel. While working with the United States, the kingdom wants to avoid being affected by a possible conflict.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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