In meeting with Netanyahu, Blinken reiterated US position on Rafah

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller answers questions during a news briefing at the State Department on July 18, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Nathan Howard/ File)
US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller answers questions during a news briefing at the State Department on July 18, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Nathan Howard/ File)

In his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “reiterated the United States’ clear position on Rafah,” says State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller.

The US readout does not say exactly what that position is, but the Biden administration has been firm in its opposition to Rafah operation without a credible plan to evacuate civilians, even calling a move into the southern Gaza city a “red line.”

Netanyahu insists a Rafah incursion will happen, and told Blinken that he would not accept an end to the war, as Hamas demands.

The US readout says that Blinken “emphasized that it is Hamas that is standing in the way of a ceasefire.”

Blinken seems to be pleased with the recent change in Israel’s position on humanitarian aid, discussing with Netanyahu “the improvement in the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza since the call between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu on April 4.”

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