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Biden Urges Netanyahu to Ensure ‘Credible’ Safety Plan Before Rafah Operation


During a conversation on Sunday, Joe Biden advised Benjamin Netanyahu against initiating a military operation in Rafah without a well-thought-out plan to protect and assist the large number of people seeking refuge there.

The conversation between the US president and Netanyahu marked their first contact since Biden’s recent comments regarding Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

Biden and officials from the United Nations have expressed concerns about the potential consequences of an Israeli military ground offensive in Rafah, where a significant number of Palestinians are seeking shelter.

They have warned that such an action could result in a significant loss of life. The Israeli military seems resolute in continuing with the offensive, despite the challenge of finding a safe location to relocate the large number of civilians away from harm.

A significant portion of Gaza’s population has sought refuge in Rafah, a location in close proximity to the border shared by Israel and Egypt. According to the UN, a significant portion of the population is currently at risk of starvation.

Israel Plans Rafah Ground Campaign Amid Airstrikes, Raising Civilian Safety Concerns

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), accompanied by deputy chief of staff Tom Sullivan (3rd-L), meets with former Israeli army chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot (R) and former Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz (2nd-R), both members of the current Israeli five-person war cabinet led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Tel Aviv on February 8, 2024.

There have been airstrikes in Rafah resulting in casualties. Netanyahu has stated that Israel will proceed with the ground campaign in Rafah, emphasizing that plans are still being finalized.

A ground operation in Rafah may potentially disrupt a crucial pathway for the delivery of essential medical and food supplies to the civilians in Gaza. According to the health ministry in Gaza, the number of casualties has reached over 28,000 since the 7 October attack by Hamas, which resulted in approximately 1,200 deaths.

According to John Kirby, Biden’s national security adviser, the US is cautious about any potential attack on Rafah and is taking into account the safety of civilians.

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