ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Netanyahu reportedly believes IDF will have to finish Rafah operation by next month

Channel 12 reports that during a war cabinet meeting earlier this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told participants that given international pressure, the IDF will have to complete its upcoming operation in Rafah aimed at dismantling Hamas’s remaining operative battalions in Gaza.

The prognosis was made during a discussion about the pending Rafah operation during which IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi told Netanyahu that the IDF was ready to operate in the southern Gaza city, but that it needed the government to first decide what it wants to do with the over one million civilians there, in addition to determining what it wants to do with the Philadelphi corridor on the Egyptian side of the Gaza border.

The latter issue needs to be resolved in order to maintain cooperation with Egypt, given the critical role it plays in any Rafah operation, Channel 12 explains, noting that Netanyahu has dragged his feet on reaching decisions on either issue.

Earlier today, Netanyahu’s office announced that he had directed the IDF to draft a plan for evacuating the civilians in Rafah so that the IDF operation could move forward, but Channel 12 suggests that the statement was just public posturing given that the army has already crafted such plans but is waiting for directives from the political echelon.

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