Netanyahu claims US pressure isn’t the reason for delayed Rafah operation

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Asked about the delay in a Rafah operation, Netanyahu says the impending incursion is not delayed because of Ramadan, US pressure, or “any hesitancy.”

The Rafah operation “requires certain preparations,” he explains. He says the IDF’s operational plans have been approved, and “we’re preparing for the evacuation and humanitarian aid” aspects. “It won’t take a lot of time. Nothing will stop us; not US or other pressure.”

Destroying Hamas’s battalions in Rafah “is essential to victory,” he says, and without victory, Israel faces “an existential threat.”

Netanyahu says he told US President Joe Biden that he appreciates US support, “but I did not appreciate the decision in the Security Council. I thought it was a deplorable decision.” The problem was that the resolution severed the conditioning between a temporary ceasefire and the release of hostages, he elaborates. “That’s why I thought I had to send a clear message on this issue.”

“If we have to, we will fight with our fingernails,” Netanyahu says he told Biden.

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