Biden Hopes Israel Will Avoid Ground Invasion of Gaza’s Rafah

Credits: The Times of Israel

President Biden expressed his hope on Friday that Israel would not proceed with its planned ground invasion of Rafah city in southern Gaza, where more than 1 million displaced Palestinians have sought refuge amid ongoing cease-fire negotiations.

In discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden said he “strongly advocated for a temporary cease-fire to secure the release of prisoners and hostages, which is currently in progress.”

“I remain optimistic that this can be achieved. In the meantime, I urge Israel to refrain from any large-scale ground invasion,” Biden said in a televised statement.

Israel Invasion of Gaza (Credits: The Guardian)

“I do not expect such an invasion to occur. A temporary cease-fire is necessary to facilitate the release of hostages held by Hamas,” Biden emphasized. “I hope and expect that we will successfully secure the release of the hostages, including Americans. Negotiations are ongoing, and we will see where they lead us.”

A previous cease-fire between Hamas and Israel had been in place from November 24 to December 1, facilitated by Qatar, Egypt, and the US. During this time, hostilities ceased, prisoners were exchanged, and limited humanitarian aid was delivered to Gaza.

Israel has reported that 134 Israelis are still believed to be held in Gaza following a successful Israeli army operation on Monday that freed two hostages.

The situation in Gaza remains dire, with over 1 million Palestinians seeking refuge in Rafah city. The conflict between Israel and Hamas has led to widespread destruction and loss of life, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the region.

The US, along with other mediators, is working to broker a cease-fire and secure the release of hostages. President Biden’s remarks underscore the urgency of the situation and the need for all parties to work towards a peaceful resolution.

Biden’s comments come amid mounting international pressure on Israel to halt its military operations in Gaza. The United Nations has called for an immediate cease-fire and urged all parties to respect international humanitarian law.

The US has also been in contact with other regional players, including Egypt and Qatar, to help mediate a resolution to the conflict. The Biden administration has emphasized the importance of addressing the root causes of the violence and working towards a lasting peace in the region.

As the situation continues to unfold, the international community is closely watching developments in Gaza. The coming days will be crucial in determining whether a cease-fire can be achieved and whether efforts to secure the release of hostages are successful.

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