Israel Defies U.S. Warning, Vows to 'Stand Alone' on Potential Gaza Offensive

Amid escalating tensions between Israel and the US, Netanyahu asserts Israel's readiness to act independently in the face of Biden's warning against supplying weapons for a potential Gaza incursion. The rift deepens as negotiations for a ceasefire falter, with Netanyahu's ministers criticizing Biden's stance. Despite US opposition, Israel considers a military operation in Rafah, prompting Netanyahu to emphasize Israel's determination. Meanwhile, Palestinians report intermittent shelling from Israel's operation, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Rafah.

Trim Correspondents
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Tensions Escalate as Israel Vows to 'Stand Alone' on Gaza Offensive

In a defiant message, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that Israel will "stand alone" if necessary, following warnings from U.S. President Joe Biden that the United States would not supply weapons for a potential invasion of Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

As negotiations for a hostage deal and ceasefire appeared to falter, the rift between Israel and its most important ally deepened, with several of Netanyahu's ministers criticizing the U.S. president's stance.

On Thursday evening, Netanyahu posted a video in which he appeared to rebuff Biden's warning, stating, "If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone." He added, "I already said that if we have to, we will fight with our fingernails. But we have much more than fingernails, and with the same greatness of mind, God willing, together we will win."

Netanyahu's combative message, without directly mentioning the United States, came a day after Biden said the U.S., Israel's largest arms supplier, would not provide weaponry for a full-scale offensive in Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians have fled.

Earlier on Thursday, national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir wrote on the social media platform X that "Hamas ♥️ Biden," while finance minister Bezalel Smotrich said the military operation "must continue . . . until victory, despite, and to a certain extent precisely because of, the opposition of the Biden administration and stopping of arms shipments."

U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby announced that CIA director Bill Burns was returning to the U.S. after ceasefire and hostage talks in the region again failed to produce a breakthrough.

House Democrats have urged Biden to leverage Israel's reliance on U.S. military assistance to shape its offensive in Gaza to help protect Palestinian civilians. However, Israel has maintained that any U.S. block on weapons shipments will provide little obstacle to its operations for the time being.

Meanwhile, Palestinians have reported intermittent shelling from Israel's operation in eastern Rafah, where conditions remain dire and have worsened since Israeli troops took control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, cutting off a major conduit for humanitarian aid.

The U.S. has opposed Israel's plans for an assault on Rafah, hoping instead to help broker a deal with Hamas to free hostages held in Gaza and reach a ceasefire lasting at least six weeks.

Why It Matters:

The escalating tensions between Israel and the United States, its closest ally, over the potential Rafah offensive in Gaza have significant regional and global implications. The disagreement over weapons supplies and the potential humanitarian crisis in Rafah could further destabilize the already volatile situation in the Middle East.

Key Takeaways:

  • Israel has vowed to "stand alone" if necessary in a potential invasion of Rafah, defying U.S. warnings against a full-scale offensive.
  • Negotiations for a hostage deal and ceasefire between Israel and Hamas appear to be faltering.
  • The U.S. has opposed Israel's plans for an assault on Rafah, fearing it could strengthen Hamas's position in negotiations.
  • The rift between Israel and the U.S. has deepened, with Israeli ministers criticizing the Biden administration's stance.
  • The situation in Rafah remains dire, with intermittent shelling and worsening humanitarian conditions.
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