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Israel agrees to take onboard US concerns over Rafah invasion, White House says

April 2, 2024 at 11:04 am

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks at the White House Press Briefing in Washington DC., United States on 25 March, 2024 [Celal Güneş/Anadolu Agency]

Officials in the US held a virtual meeting with their Israeli counterparts yesterday to discuss the alternative proposals by US President Joe Biden’s administration to the Israeli military invasion of Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah.

“Israel agreed to take into account US concerns regarding a massive Rafah invasion and also agreed to hold follow-up conversations on the matter,” the US said following the talks.

Reuters reported American officials saying that in-person meetings are scheduled to continue the discussion of the occupation’s plans to invade Rafah, which threatens to exacerbate the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the US has made its concerns known about any major Israeli ground operation in the southern Gaza city, where some 1.5 million Palestinians are living, the majority after Israel forcibly displaced them from their homes in the central and northern areas of the Strip.

She added, “If they are going to move forward with a military operation, we have to have this conversation. We have to understand how they’re going to move forward.”

She noted that the White House National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, is leading the talks.

Israel had agreed to send a delegation to Washington to discuss the plan to invade Rafah, but then cancelled it after the US failed to use its veto in the Security Council against a resolution calling for a ceasefire.

Officials said that two days later, Israel asked the White House to set another date for a high-level meeting to discuss military plans for the city of Rafah, in an apparent attempt to ease tensions between the two allies.

The US wants Israel to consider alternatives to a ground invasion of Rafah, noting that Biden had urged Israel not to launch a major attack in Rafah to avoid more civilian casualties in Gaza.

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