US in dark about date picked for Rafah operation, Blinken says

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Israel has not informed the Biden administration of the date on which it plans to launch an invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel had decided on one.

The top US diplomat says at a Washington press conference alongside UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron that the Biden administration continues to hold discussions with Israel regarding a potential Rafah operation, voicing its opposition to such an offensive due to its belief that the IDF will not be able to safely evacuate the nearly 1.5 million Palestinians sheltering in Rafah and to care for them once they have been moved.

“We’re talking to them about alternative and effective ways of solving the problems that need to be solved, but doing it in a way that does not endanger the innocent,” Blinken says, noting that a senior-level delegation of Israeli officials will be visiting Washington next week to discuss the matter further.

“We are committed to ensuring that Hamas cannot govern or dictate the future of Gaza or anything else for that matter, but how Israel conducts any further operations in Gaza matters a great deal,” he adds.

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