Netanyahu: Israelis are ready to fight with their nails

Netanyahu: Israelis are ready to fight with their nails

Shafaq News / Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, on Friday, that Israelis are ready to fight "with their nails" in a veiled rejection of US President Joe Biden's warning about the possibility of withholding arms supplies due to the planned operation in Rafah, Gaza.

Israel began this week the long-threatened move against Rafah, evacuating some civilians and subsequently conducting limited incursions. It claimed that thousands of fighters from Hamas, and possibly dozens of hostages held by the movement since the October 7th attack, are among more than a million Palestinians displaced by the war.

The Biden administration said it "cannot endorse a major invasion of Rafah without what it describes as a credible plan to protect civilians." Israel said that "achieving victory in the ongoing conflict, which has lasted for seven months, is impossible without controlling Rafah."

Netanyahu's government had remained silent regarding reports that Washington was "blocking a shipment of bombs dropped by aircraft" until Biden announced this measure on Wednesday, warning Israelis against "going to Rafah."

Netanyahu said without explicitly referring to the US announcement, "If we have to stand alone, we will." He added in a recorded statement, "If necessary, we will fight with our nails... But we have much more than our nails; with this spiritual strength and with the help of God, we will triumph together."

However, Netanyahu expressed hope in an interview with American television that he and Biden could overcome their differences regarding the war in Gaza. "We often agree but we also have differences between us. And we were able to overcome them."

Two other members of the war cabinet echoed similar comments, Defense Minister Yoav Galant and his centrist predecessor Benny Gantz. However, neither explicitly mentioned an order to launch a deeper invasion of Rafah.

Galant said, "I am speaking to Israel's enemies as well as to our close friends. Israel cannot be subdued... We will stick to our position, achieve our goals, strike Hamas, strike Hezbollah, and achieve security."

Gantz expressed appreciation for what the Israeli military described as unprecedented American support and supplies in the war.

He state on X, "Israel has a duty, both in terms of national security and morality, to continue fighting to free our hostages and end the threat Hamas poses to southern Israel."

He added, "The United States has a moral and strategic obligation to provide Israel with the necessary tools for this mission."

In parallel with this public dispute, the United States is trying to broker talks, through Egyptian and Qatari mediation, between Israel and Hamas, which could lead to the release of some hostages.

The talks are faltering due to Hamas's demand to end the war in Gaza while Israel only wants a temporary ceasefire. Negotiators left their latest Cairo meeting on Thursday without reaching an agreement, and Israel said it would proceed with the planned Rafah operation.

Israeli Chief Military Spokesperson Admiral Daniel Hagari affirmed at a press conference that the armed forces have sufficient ammunition for Rafah "and other planned operations."

Tens of thousands of Palestinians are attempting to flee Rafah as Israel shells the eastern area of the city, which shelters approximately 1.5 million people.

The ongoing closure of the Rafah border crossing by Israel is described as "choking off the entry of life-saving aid into Gaza" by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

About 35,000 people have been killed and 78,500 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7.

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