Netanyahu asks Washington to reschedule canceled meeting on Rafah

Netanyahu asks Washington to reschedule canceled meeting on Rafah

Shafaq News/ The Biden administration has announced that it will reschedule a planned visit by Israeli officials to Washington, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled.

Last week, US President Joe Biden requested Israel to send a delegation to Washington for discussions on alternatives to a ground offensive in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where a large number of civilians have sought refuge. However, Netanyahu abruptly called off the delegation's trip after expressing dissatisfaction with the US's refusal to vote on the resolution at the UN Security Council on Monday.

The White House spokesperson, Karine Jean-Pierre, said, "The Prime Minister's Office has agreed to reschedule the meeting dedicated to Rafah so we're now working with them to set to find a convenient date."

Disagreements over the imminent invasion of Rafah and the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza have strained relations between Netanyahu and Biden.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have all urged Israel to seek an "alternative" approach to a major assault on Rafah, which could put civilians at risk and worsen the suffering in the region. However, the Israeli Prime Minister insist on the military operation.

Addressing a bipartisan US Congressional delegation visiting Israel on Wednesday, Netanyahu mentioned that people currently seeking refuge in Rafah, constituting more than half of Gaza's 2.3 million population, would have the ability to relocate away from the conflict zone.

"People simply move, they relocate with their shelters," Netanyahu stated. "Residents moved down to Rafah; they can move back up."

Israel argues that a ground offensive is necessary to neutralize thousands of Hamas fighters entrenched in Rafah. However, the proposed military action has triggered international concern due to Rafah's dense population, including numerous Palestinians residing in sprawling tent camps and UN shelters, many of whom have fled from other conflict zones within Gaza.

The ongoing conflict, lasting over five months, left the majority of approximately 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip on the brink of famine due to the protracted hostilities.

So far, Israel has killed more than 32,500 Palestinians, mainly children and women.

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