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Biden Warns Netanyahu in Phone Call Against Attack in Rafah Without Civilian Plan

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Biden Warns Netanyahu in Phone Call Against Attack in Rafah Without Civilian Plan

President Joe Biden warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a 45-minute telephone call Sunday not to attack Hamas’s last stronghold in Rafah without a credible plan to evacuate the roughly one million Palestinian civilians there.

A White House readout of the call said:

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke this morning with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. The President reaffirmed our shared goal to see Hamas defeated and to ensure the long-term security of Israel and its people. The President and the Prime Minister discussed ongoing efforts to secure the release of all remaining hostages held by Hamas. The President emphasized the need to capitalize on progress made in the negotiations to secure the release of all hostages as soon as possible. He also called for urgent and specific steps to increase the throughput and consistency of humanitarian assistance to innocent Palestinian civilians. And he reaffirmed his view that a military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the more than one million people sheltering there. The two leaders agreed to remain in close contact.

Rafah is a town in Gaza on the Egyptian border. It is the one part of Gaza where the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have not yet attacked Hamas. Hamas leaders are thought to be hiding there. The area is also important to cross-border smuggling.

As Breitbart News reported, Netanyahu ordered the Israeli military Friday to prepare a plan to evacuate the roughly one million Palestinians who have fled to Rafah from other parts of the Gaza Strip — and to attack the four remaining Hamas battalions there.

However, the U.S. and other nations have tried to discourage Israel from attacking Rafah. Egypt worries that Palestinians will try to escape the fighting and enter its territory, though it has reportedly warned Hamas that the IDF will invade Rafah in two weeks.

Hamas has hinted that any talks toward a hostage deal will be suspended if Israel attacks Rafah. Netanyahu has said that Rafah is the key to victory — a point with which any Israelis agree — and that failing to attack Hamas in Rafah would mean losing the war.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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