The PM says that Israel has circled a date in the calendar

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he has set a date for the IDF to launch its much-anticipated offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.
There is a date,” Netanyahu said in a video statement, which didn’t reveal the timing of the planned operation.
Plans to mount a major offensive there have drawn intense international opposition, including from the US.
Miller reiterated that Washington opposes a major invasion in Rafah, arguing that Israel can achieve its war aims through other means.
The Biden administration argues that a Rafah offensive will lead to significant civilian harm, cut off aid routes and further damage Israel’s image on the international stage.
“We don’t see any signs that such a major ground operation is imminent or that these troops [being withdrawn from Khan Younis] are being repositioned for that kind of ground operation,” Kirby said.
The plan envisions 15 sites containing 25,000 tents each across Gaza, running from the southern edge of Gaza City down to the Al Mawasi area north of Rafah.
Amid the IDF’s ground offensive, launched in late October, 260 soldiers have been killed and 1,552 were wounded.


The IDF’s much-awaited offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah is scheduled to begin on Monday, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Entrying Rafah and dismantling the terrorist battalions there is necessary for victory [over Hamas].”. This is going to occur. In a video statement, Netanyahu stated, “There is a date,” though it was unclear when the intended operation would take place.

Although the premier has at least four times in the last two months stated that he approves of the IDF’s operational plans for Rafah, no offensive is expected in the near future, especially since the IDF completely withdrew from Khan Younis on Sunday, further reducing its troop presence in Gaza. At the height of the conflict, the IDF had about 30,000 soldiers in Gaza; even before the most recent withdrawal, that number had dropped to several thousand, far short of what would be needed to launch a significant ground invasion.

It is estimated that four Hamas battalions are based in Rafah, where more than a million civilians are seeking refuge after escaping conflict in other areas of the Gaza Strip. It is also believed that Hamas leaders, possibly in hiding with Israeli hostages, are in Rafah.

Proposals to launch a significant offensive there have encountered strong opposition from around the world, including the US. The US expressed severe skepticism over Israeli plans to operate in the southernmost Gaza city, and tensions and accusations were reportedly high during a video conference held last week between Israeli and US officials to discuss a possible IDF ground operation in Rafah.

US officials think Israel’s plan to evacuate the city’s over a million noncombatants is unworkable.

Netanyahu stated in the video statement on Monday that a victory was impossible without a city operation.

“We are continuously striving to accomplish our objective,” Netanyahu declared, “which is to free all of our hostages and defeat Hamas completely.”. “.

Opinions have been expressed by some analysts that the prime minister is holding Hamas accountable for the ongoing hostage negotiations by constantly threatening to launch a Rafah operation. As negotiators awaited Hamas’s response to Israel’s most recent offer, the discussions were apparently at a turning point on Monday.

The US State Department’s Matthew Miller responded later on Monday, stating that Israel had not yet informed the Biden administration of its intended entry date into Rafah.

Miller restated Washington’s opposition to a significant Israeli invasion of Rafah, claiming that Israel can accomplish its military objectives in other ways. According to the Biden administration, an Israeli offensive in Rafah would severely harm civilians, obstruct aid supplies, and worsen Israel’s standing internationally.

A spokesman for the White House National Security Council, John Kirby, stated on Monday that Israel has given the US assurances that it won’t begin a significant ground operation before holding an in-person follow-up to the virtual summit of top officials last week, which is expected to happen the following week.

The troops who are being evacuated from Khan Younis are not being moved in preparation for any kind of ground operation, Kirby stated, nor do we see any indications of an impending major ground operation.

Through the high-level meeting, the US hopes to persuade Israel to pursue alternatives to a full-scale invasion. These alternatives would involve coordinating with Cairo to secure the Egypt-Gaza border against ongoing smuggling, thereby choking off Hamas’s remaining fighters, as well as more focused strikes against the organization’s leadership.

Itamar Ben Gvir, the national security minister, made a threat on X, saying, “The prime minister will not have a mandate to remain as premier if he decides to end the war without a significant attack on Rafah to defeat Hamas.”. “.

Head of the centrist Yesh Atid party and leader of the opposition, Yair Lapid, promised to support the premier in the event that his far-right allies fulfilled their threat to oppose a hostage deal.

Israeli troops have been pulled out of the Khan Younis region in anticipation of the anticipated offensive in Rafah, according to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant’s statement on Monday.

After an evaluation at the IDF Southern Command, Gallant stated, “The forces came out [of Gaza] and are preparing for their future missions; we saw examples of such missions in action at Shifa [Hospital] and also for their future mission in the Rafah area.”.

Israeli allies have serious concerns about what will happen to the civilian population in Rafah.

One of the main goals of the 11.4 million Palestinians who have been internally displaced and are stuck in Rafah is to send them to “humanitarian islands” located in the middle of the territory, according to the IDF’s announcement last month.

Israel has an evacuation plan for coastal civilians, according to a Wall Street Journal report from February. According to the plan, there will be 25,000 tents at 15 different locations throughout Gaza, extending from the southernmost point of Gaza City to the Al Mawasi neighborhood north of Rafah.

Egypt was shown the plan by Israel, according to the report.

After the terror group’s October 7 massacre in southern Israel, which claimed the lives of nearly 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapped 253 others to Gaza, where it is thought that more than half of them are still alive, Israel declared war on Hamas in Gaza.

260 soldiers have lost their lives and 1,552 have been injured during the IDF’s ground offensive, which began in late October.

More than 33,000 people have died in the fighting in the Gaza Strip, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. This number cannot be independently verified and includes the 13,000 Hamas terrorists Israel claims to have killed in combat. Furthermore, Israel claims that on October 7, it killed about 1,000 gunmen inside Israel.

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