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In an upcoming virtual meeting scheduled for today, officials from the United States and Israel are set to deliberate on Israel’s intentions to conduct a military operation in Rafah, a key area in its war with Hamas.

The decision to hold a virtual discussion follows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent cancellation of a planned visit by an Israeli delegation to Washington. This was a response to the US abstention from a UN Security Council resolution that called for a ceasefire in Gaza during Ramadan, aimed at a durable peace, and demanded the release of all hostages.


John Kirby, US National Security Coordinator, expressed confusion over Netanyahu’s decision to cancel the delegation. He said, “The prime minister’s office seems to be indicating through public statements that we somehow changed here. We haven’t, and we get to decide what our policy is. It seems like the prime minister’s office is choosing to create a perception of daylight here when they don’t need to do that.”

While addressing the United State’s abstention vote at the UN, he said, “Number one: It’s a nonbinding resolution. So, there’s no impact at all on Israel and Israel’s ability to continue to go after Hamas. Number 2: It does not represent a change at all in our policy. It’s very consistent with everything that we’ve been saying we want to get done here. And, we get to decide what our policy is.”

This comes as tensions have escalated ahead of Israel’s proposed offensive in Rafah, with the US expressing concerns over potential risks to Palestinian civilians. Officials from the White House have said that Israel must take steps to prevent the humanitarian crisis from worsening, warning that an invasion of Rafah would increase the crisis.


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