Deal Or No Deal, The Killing Must Go On In Rafah Says Israel’s Netanyahu.

Photo: public domain image. A rainbow in Rafah in 2015, but the city seems destined for warfare unless the surviving Hamas troops surrender.
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today that Israel will carry out a military attack on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which borders on Egypt,  regardless of whether there is any agreement with Hamas for a cease-fire and release of hostages held in Gaza.

“The idea that we will stop the war before achieving all of its goals is out of the question. We will enter Rafah and we will eliminate Hamas’ battalions there — with a deal or without a deal, to achieve the total victory,” Netanyahu’s office quoted him as saying in a meeting with families of hostages.

Netanyahu has said it is necessary for Israeli forces to enter Rafah to fully defeat Hamas, which carried out an attack on Israel in October that killed 1,200 people.

Hamas also took about 250 hostages during the attack, and it is believed to still be holding about 100, along with the remains of 30 or more hostages who have either been killed or otherwise died in the ensuing months.

More than half of Gaza’s population is sheltering in Rafah, located along the border between Gaza and Egypt.

Many Palestinians fled to Rafah to escape Israeli attacks, and the United Nations has warned of a potential humanitarian disaster if Israel conducts a major ground offensive in the city.

The White House said Monday U.S. President Joe Biden pledged to work with Egypt and Qatar to ensure the implementation of a proposed cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

In phone calls with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Biden urged the leaders to do all they can to push for the release of hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza.

A White House statement described the hostage release as “the only obstacle to an immediate ceasefire and relief for the people of Gaza.”

The United States, Egypt and Qatar have been involved in months of talks aimed at halting the war. A proposal now under consideration includes a cease-fire lasting about six weeks, the release of hostages held by Hamas, the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel and an increase in humanitarian aid for Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

Hamas officials met with representatives from Egypt and Qatar in Cairo on Monday to discuss the proposal.

The talks come as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting the region to discuss the situation with officials in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel.

Israel’s counteroffensive in Gaza has killed more than 34,500 people, about two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry,

Source: VOA.
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