Netanyahu says Israel to press on with Rafah assault plan By Reuters



© Reuters. Members of the crew and port personnel examine the cargo ship loaded with humanitarian assist for Gaza within the port of Larnaca, Cyprus March 16, 2024. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou


By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Ari Rabinovitch

CAIRO/JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Sunday he would stick to the navy marketing campaign towards Hamas in Gaza, the place assist companies say famine is looming, whereas ceasefire talks have been set to renew.

Netanyahu instructed a cupboard assembly that Israel would push into Rafah, the final comparatively protected place within the tiny, crowded Gaza enclave after greater than 5 months of warfare, regardless of worldwide stress for Israel to keep away from civilian casualties.

“We are going to function in Rafah. It will take a number of weeks, and it’ll occur,” he stated, with out clarifying if he meant the assault would final for weeks or would start in weeks.

He later stated after assembly German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Jerusalem that Israel wouldn’t depart civilians trapped in Rafah when its forces start their assault.

Israel’s allies have piled stress on Netanyahu to not assault Rafah, the place greater than one million displaced folks from different elements of the devastated enclave have sought shelter, and not using a plan to guard civilians.

At a joint information convention, Scholz stated he had spoken with Netanyahu about the necessity to present complete humanitarian assist to the folks in Gaza.

“We can’t stand by and watch Palestinians danger hunger,” Scholz stated, echoing a name from European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen, visiting neighbouring Egypt on the similar time, for a ceasefire deal and extra assist for Gaza.

“It’s crucial to realize an settlement on a ceasefire quickly now that frees (Israel’s) hostages and permits extra humanitarian assist to achieve Gaza,” von der Leyen stated after assembly Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

On the cupboard assembly, Netanyahu had hit out at his allies, saying: “Are your recollections that quick? Have you ever so rapidly forgotten October 7, essentially the most horrific bloodbath of Jews for the reason that Holocaust? Are you so fast to disclaim Israel the precise to defend itself towards the Hamas monsters?”.

Hamas fighters killed 1,200 folks and seized 253 hostages within the Oct. 7 assault in accordance with Israeli tallies, triggering a large assault on Gaza.

Israel’s air and floor marketing campaign within the enclave has killed greater than 31,600 folks say well being authorities in Hamas-run Gaza, pushed a lot of the inhabitants from their properties and introduced them to the brink of famine in accordance with assist companies.

A supply conversant in truce talks in Qatar instructed Reuters the top of Israel’s Mossad intelligence company would be part of the delegation attending the negotiations with Qatari, Egyptian and U.S. mediators.

Hamas offered a brand new ceasefire proposal final week together with an trade of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners. Israel’s safety cupboard is to satisfy to debate it earlier than the delegation leaves.

Netanyahu has already stated the proposal was primarily based on “unrealistic calls for”, however a Palestinian official conversant in mediation efforts stated possibilities for a deal seemed higher with Hamas having given extra particulars on the proposed prisoner swap.

“Some in Israel felt (Hamas) made some enchancment on its earlier place and it’s now within the arms of Netanyahu alone to say whether or not an settlement is imminent,” stated the official, who requested to not be named.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, in an obvious reference to the negotiations, stated the safety institution “is dedicated to exhausting each risk and keen to benefit from each risk, together with the present one, to return the hostages to their households”.


Vehicles of flour have reached northern Gaza for distribution to areas which have had no assist in 4 months, Palestinian media reported on Sunday.

A convoy of 12 vehicles arrived within the north on Saturday carrying provides to be distributed to the northernmost areas, the media and residents stated.

The Hamas-linked Dwelling Entrance media outlet reported that the help was distributed by the “Well-liked Committees”, a gaggle that features leaders of highly effective clans in Gaza. A Hamas supply stated the route was secured by Hamas safety personnel.

Hospitals within the north have already reported youngsters dying of malnutrition and dehydration.


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