Biden Warns Netanyahu About His Next Move

President Biden has warned Israel against conducting a ground offensive in Rafah unless it has a “credible and executable plan” to ensure the safety of Palestinian civilians. The two leaders spoke by phone amid growing panic in the Gaza Strip, considered the last refuge for Hamas terrorists. The United Nations said more than a million Palestinians are currently crammed into the area and are unsure where to go as Israel draws up plans for an invasion.

Israel says it is committed to a ground offensive in Rafah after spending several weeks hitting the area with airstrikes. Israeli military spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said there is no alternative and “no option from Israel’s perspective.” It is still unclear when the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) will launch its offensive, but reports say Palestinians are already fleeing the region close to the Egyptian border.

President Biden and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres both warn of a “bloodbath” if Israel goes ahead, and emphasized that the area is an essential aid route into Gaza. They are among many world leaders urging Israel to exercise restraint.

Saudi Arabia warned of “very serious repercussions” if the ground offensive proceeds, whereas the UK Foreign Minister David Cameron said he is “deeply concerned” at the prospect. Various aid agencies have also spoken up and said a humanitarian catastrophe would result from the ground invasion.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared unmoved and told ABC News, “We’re going to do it.” The Prime Minister is adamant that the “last remaining” Hamas terrorists are hiding out in Rafah, and he reiterated the promise he made to Israelis that he would obliterate Hamas for its terror attack on Israeli civilians last October.

Netanyahu sought to reassure leaders, including President Biden, that he was aware of the need to prevent civilian deaths. “We’re going to do it while providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave,” he said.