US slams Israel’s ops in Rafah 

Clarifying US’ stance on Israel’s ground offensive in Rafah, Miller said that it would not only increase the suffering of Palestinians, but also disrupt aid delivery…reports Asian Lite News

The United States has said that it cannot support an operation in Rafah the way it is envisioned as of now.

“We’ve made quite clear our position on Rafah for some time, which is that we cannot support an operation in Rafah as it is currently envisioned. We have made clear – the Secretary made this clear in his conversations with Prime Minister Netanyahu and other members of the Israeli Government last week – that we have not seen a humanitarian plan that is credible and that is implementable,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a press briefing on Monday (local time).

Clarifying US’ stance on Israel’s ground offensive in Rafah, Miller said that it would not only increase the suffering of Palestinians, but also disrupt aid delivery.

“We believe a military operation in Rafah right now would dramatically increase the suffering of the Palestinian people, would lead to an increase in the loss of civilian life, and would dramatically disrupt the delivery of humanitarian assistance, all of which is coming through – I shouldn’t say “all,” but the great majority of which is coming through Kerem Shalom or Rafah and is being distributed inside the Rafah area,” the State Department spokesperson said.

“If you think about what it would do when you have people moving north to places where internal distribution lines are not currently set up and you’re going to have to try to re-establish those in the middle of the conflict in Rafah, we think that would be very difficult, if not impossible, to do…we have made clear that we do not support Israel launching a full-scale military operation in Rafah,” Miller added.

A few days back, National Security Advisor John Kirby had said that Tel Aviv agreed to listen to Washington’s ‘perspectives’ and ‘concerns’ before launching any offensive inside the Rafah city of Gaza.

“Well, look, I think, again, we have to have a better understanding from the Israelis about what they want to do. As a matter of fact, we’ve had several staff talks with them. We intend to do that more,” Kirby said in an interview with ABC News.

“They’ve assured us they won’t go into Rafah until we’ve had a chance to really share our perspectives and concerns with them. So we’ll see where that goes,” he added.

Israel has been under pressure from the international community to refrain from launching a ground operation in Rafah, which has for weeks been under Israeli aerial bombardment. The city is the last major refuge for Palestinians fleeing the north and centre of Gaza.

Moreover, Washington has repeatedly voiced doubts over Israel’s intentions to conduct operations in the southernmost city of Gaza, The Times of Israel reported.

Netanyahu stated that there could be no victory without an operation in the city.

“We are constantly working to achieve our goal,” the Israeli PM said, adding, “primarily releasing all of our hostages and achieving total victory over Hamas”.

Meanwhile, multiple explosions were reported in the Rafah area of southern Gaza. This comes hours after Israel said that Hamas’ ceasefire proposal is far from meeting its core demands.

As per the report, several local social media accounts reported that the explosions were heard to the east of Rafah, an area where the Israel Defence Forces had called for an evacuation of civilians earlier Monday.

US sources said that while they are keeping a careful eye on the explosion reports and are “very concerned” about the current situation, they do not think that this marks the start of a significant Israeli military action in southern Gaza.

As stated repeatedly to reporters earlier on Monday afternoon by White House spokesperson John Kirby, the Biden administration is still against Israel entering Rafah.

Israel’s military on May 6 had issued an urgent evacuation notice to residents of eastern Rafah, following a warning from the country’s defence minister of impending “intense action” in the area.

Humanitarian agencies have cautioned against a full-scale ground invasion of Rafah, warning of heightened suffering and casualties among the 1.2 million displaced Palestinians in and around the city. Northern Gaza is already grappling with a severe famine, exacerbated by months of conflict, as highlighted by the World Food Programme.

Moreover, previous evacuation orders have also drawn criticism from international bodies and humanitarian organisations, emphasising the absence of safe havens amid ongoing conflict.

Biden speaks with Netanyahu

President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke Monday morning, a White House official and a National Security Council spokesperson said, as Israel appeared closer to launching an offensive on the southern Gaza city of Rafah — a move staunchly opposed by the US on humanitarian grounds.

The NSC spokesperson said Biden reiterated US concerns about an invasion of Rafah — where more than 1 million civilians from other parts of Gaza are sheltering after 7 months of war sparked by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel — and said he believes reaching a ceasefire with Hamas is the best way to protect the lives of Israeli hostages held in Gaza.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the call before an official White House statement was released.

ALSO READ: Gaza Ceasefire Draws US Scrutiny

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