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Israel says it will invade Rafah no matter what the US says – Boulder Daily Camera

Ethan Bronner | Bloomberg News (TNS)

A top Israeli official said his country’s military is ultimately going to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah and defeat Hamas “even if the entire world turns on Israel, including the United States.”

“We are going to go in and finish this job, and anybody who doesn’t understand that doesn’t understand that the existential nerve of the Jews was touched” by the Oct. 7 attack when Hamas operatives killed 1,200 and abducted 250, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer said on a U.S. podcast posted online Thursday.

A close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Dermer is headed to Washington early next week to listen to concerns from the Biden administration that such an invasion would cause many more civilian casualties at a time when famine and disease are spreading in Gaza.

Biden and Netanyahu ease their feud but suspicions linger

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in the region pushing for a deal between Israel and Hamas that would lead to a six-week cease-fire and an exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners along with a big increase in humanitarian aid to the more than 2 million Palestinians in the coastal strip.

Israel went to war in Gaza right after the Hamas attack and has killed more than 31,000, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between fighters and civilians. Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union. Israel says it has killed 11,000 fighters.

Dermer said the U.S. hasn’t categorically rejected any Israeli military operation in Rafah.

“They said without a credible way of moving a mass of people out of Rafah and surging humanitarian assistance to them they don’t see how this can be done effectively,” he said. “And we are saying we agree with you that we have to move the people out, we agree we have to get humanitarian assistance to them, and we believe we can do it.”

Dermer said he’s going to Washington to listen to U.S. ideas about what to do. There have been a number of disagreements between the U.S. and Israel over strategy during the more than five months of conflict, but they worked through them in the end, he said.

“Could you have a breach over Rafah? You could. We hope we don’t.”

Famine is imminent in Northern Gaza, U.N.-backed report warns

In recent weeks, especially as disease and hunger have spread in Gaza without a clear plan for aid distribution, Biden and other top U.S. Democrats have openly criticized Netanyahu and Israeli policies. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called for Israel to hold new elections, a step that Netanyahu rejected.

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