Anthony Blinken warns Israel saying their ground assault will fail and they need a plan for post-war Gaza

Evacuation-from-Gaza

Important Takeaways:

  • Israel has insisted that it must invade Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where more than 1 million people had sought refuge, in order to accomplish its core objective of “eliminating” Hamas’ presence in the enclave after months of fighting further north.
  • But Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Sunday that even a full-scale ground assault on Rafah would fail to achieve that goal.
  • Israel is “on the trajectory, potentially, to inherit an insurgency with many armed Hamas left or, if it leaves, a vacuum filled by chaos, filled by anarchy and probably refilled by Hamas,” he said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
  • “Even if it goes in and takes heavy action in Rafah, there will still be thousands of armed Hamas left,” Blinken said, noting that “we’ve seen, in areas that Israel has cleared in the north, even in Khan Younis, Hamas coming back.”
  • Blinken said that instead of focusing on an assault on Rafah, Israel should prioritize presenting a credible post-war plan for Gaza.
  • Talks for a new cease-fire deal have seemingly broken down, and President Joe Biden threatened last week to halt the shipment of certain arms to Israel should it launch a full-scale assault on Rafah.
  • Nearly 360,000 people have fled the city since Israel ordered a partial evacuation a week ago and sent tanks in, according to the United Nations.

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Biden says our support of Israel is ironclad; new report shows he’s holding back the whereabouts of Hamas leaders from Netanyahu

angry-Biden

Important Takeaways:

  • Joe Biden has been hiding intelligence on the whereabouts of Hamas leaders and their command tunnels, depriving Israel of vital information that could lead to an end to the war. That revelation came in a report on Saturday and was framed as the administration offering that information now if the ongoing operation in Rafah is canceled.
  • The story first broke in The Washington Post , with the paper describing the offer as follows.
  • The Biden administration, working urgently to stave off a full-scale Israeli invasion of Rafah, is offering Israel valuable assistance if it holds back, including sensitive intelligence to help the Israeli military pinpoint the location of Hamas leaders and find the group’s hidden tunnels, according to four people familiar with the U.S. offers.
  • There’s no other way to read this except that the Biden administration has been protecting Hamas. If intelligence exists that can help “pinpoint the location of Hamas leaders,” it should have been given to Israel the moment it was produced. The same goes for any information about the terror tunnels.

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There was a time when America – indeed the world – took serious notice of what a US President said; Expert analysis from Andrew Neil gives insight why that may no longer be

Biden-Holocaust-Memorial

Important Takeaways:

  • Final proof Biden’s America is utterly adrift, ignored – and barreling toward disaster: ANDREW NEIL’s expert analysis of an infirm, incoherent President… now losing all control
  • The words were forceful enough on Tuesday when President Joe Biden rightly condemned the current ‘ferocious surge of anti-Semitism in America and around the world.’
  • He was speaking, appropriately enough, at a Holocaust memorial ceremony in the US Capitol on May 7 – seven months to the day of Hamas’s unprovoked and barbarous attack on Israel.
  • Biden was even explicit about Hamas’s crimes and its responsibility for the war that inevitably followed October 7.
  • ‘I have not forgotten,’ averred the President.
  • But the most remarkable feature of his speech was how little his words seemed to matter. They disappeared in the wind almost as soon as they were uttered.
  • There was a time when America — indeed the world — took serious notice of what a US president said. Biden, it appears, can be safely ignored.
  • Certainly, few seem to heed his warnings these days.
  • He told Iran ‘don’t’ when it threatened to retaliate for Israel’s fatal attack on its Revolutionary Guard HQ in Damascus, Syria. Tehran proceeded to launch over 300 missiles and drones at Israel, nearly all of them thankfully taken out before reaching their targets.
  • He informed Israel that rooting out what’s left of Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah was a ‘red line’ the Jewish State must not cross because of the potential for more civilian casualties. This week Israel started rooting out Hamas in Rafah.
  • He informed Israel that rooting out what’s left of Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah was a ‘red line’ the Jewish State must not cross because of the potential for more civilian casualties. This week Israel started rooting out Hamas in Rafah.
  • On Tuesday, he addressed the poisonous anti-Semitism now rampant on university campuses.
  • He highlighted ‘vicious propaganda on social media … Jews forced to hide kippahs under baseball caps, tuck Jewish stars into their shirts … Jewish students blocked, harassed, attacked while walking to class .. anti-Semitic posters, slogans calling for the annihilation of Israel … too many people denying, rationalizing, ignoring the horrors of the Holocaust and October 7th … it’s absolutely despicable — and it must stop.’
  • He is, of course, absolutely right to call this out. The pity is that it’s taken him so long to do so.
  • The so-called National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), instigators of many of the encampments, has called October 7th ‘a historic win for the Palestinian resistance.’
  • New York’s Columbia University SJP has declared ‘full solidarity with Palestinian resistance,’ praising the ‘historic’ attack ‘despite the odds.’
  • These are not protestors pleading for peace to be given a chance. They want to see Israel destroyed and Hamas victorious.
  • Biden’s own campaign supporters are funding this pro-war rabble.
  • Money from Democratic megadonor George Soros has gone to a group called Jewish Voice for Peace which immediately after October 7 blamed, ‘Israeli apartheid and occupation — and United States complicity,’ for the slaughter.
  • Yet as President, Biden couldn’t even bring himself to condemn the notorious anti-Semitic ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ chant so beloved of the protestors.
  • As Biden claimed his support for Israel is ‘ironclad even when we disagree’ we learned that his administration was holding up shipments of precision bombs to Israel to signal to the Israeli government that Washington really doesn’t want it to pursue the all-out defeat of Hamas.
  • To be fair, Biden’s intervention, well-meant and heartfelt – as it no doubt was despite all its inadequacies – was over-shadowed by Stormy Daniels testimony in the Donald Trump hush-money trial in New York.
  • The media was more obsessed with that than Biden’s important words about anti-Semitism, which is not the President’s fault.
  • But you can’t help feeling that a President with more authority and respect would also have commanded more attention.

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Overnight Israeli operation attacks 50 Hamas targets and takes control of Palestine, Rafah crossing

IDF-Tank

Important Takeaways:

  • Rockets fired at Israel from the North and the South following overnight Rafah op
    • US military shoots down Houthi UAV • Activists block aid from entering Gaza • Son of Hamas leader warns ceasefire is a ‘trap’
    • On October 7th terrorists took some 240 hostages into Gaza
    • 132 hostages remain in Gaza
    • 38 hostages in total have been killed in captivity, IDF says
    • Turkey says Israel’s Rafah operation is another war crime
    • IDF takes over Palestinian side of Rafah crossing – report
    • According to the army radio, troops of the 401st Brigade had taken full operational control of the crossing.
    • During the operation, Israel Air Force jets and troops of the 215th Fire Brigade struck and destroyed Hamas terror targets, among which were military buildings, underground infrastructures and other terrorist infrastructures from which Hamas operated in the Rafah area.
    • During the overnight operation, 20 terrorists were killed in action, according to the IDF’s estimates, and many others were wounded.
    • According to southern Command officials, 50 Hamas targets were attacked in the operation.

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Evacuation warnings for Rafah as IDF drops flyers telling citizens where to take refuge: Rafah invasion appears imminent

Rafah-flyer-Getty-e1714997036806

Important Takeaways:

  • The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) urged residents of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, to evacuate to nearby “safe” zones on Monday as a long-delayed attack by Israel against the last Hamas strongholds appeared to be imminent.
  • The apparent mobilization of the IDF came after Hamas fired rockets from close range at the Kerem Shalom crossing, where humanitarian aid crosses from Israel into Gaza, on Saturday, killing four soldiers and wounding several others.
  • The U.S. has been telling Israel, privately and publicly, not to attack Rafah since February. Israel insisted it would do so, regardless of international pressure and regardless of hostage talks, to complete its goal of destroying Hamas.
  • The IDF has been dropping flyers on Rafah with maps indicating where residents should take refuge during the fighting.

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Israel ground operation in Rafah set for mid-April or early May

Rafah-bomb-damage

Important Takeaways:

  • Following the failure of the latest round of negotiations in Qatar, Israel is not willing to make any further concessions to Hamas and is gearing up for an invasion of Rafah after Eid al-Fitr — the three-day holiday that follows Ramadan and ends around April 12 — or in early May at the latest, according to Egyptian sources who have been in contact with IDF officials, quoted by the pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar daily.
  • The ground op inside the last bastion of Hamas in the Gaza Strip would last between four and eight weeks, the sources say, and would be accompanied by an evacuation of the civilian population sheltering in Rafah, which amounts to about 1.5 million people, toward the center of the Strip along specific routes and at specific times, announced to civilians in each area of Rafah in advance.
  • The mass evacuation would be monitored from the ground and the air to ensure that no Hamas fighters or Israeli hostages are hidden among the Gazan civilians, the Egyptian officials say.
  • Cairo expresses its deep concerns over an IDF operation in the Rafah area, noting that it could lead to a further escalation not only in Gaza, but in the whole region, Al-Akhbar says.

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UK tries reeling in Israel. No more weapons for you!

ukarmssales

Important Takeaways:

  • UK Warns It Could Restrict Arms Sales To Israel If Rafah Offensive Proceeds
  • Fresh headlines Wednesday say the United Kingdom is mulling restricting arms sales to Israel if it goes ahead with its planned major offensive on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which is packed with over a million Palestinian refugees who’ve been forcibly relocated from other parts of the Strip.
  • “Further escalation of Israel’s military action in Gaza without more effort to protect civilians could put it in breach of international humanitarian law, depending on how it conducts the operation, UK officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity about internal assessments,” Bloomberg reports.
  • Not only has London’s High Court recently dealt with petitions from legal advocacy groups alleging British arms sent to Israel are being used to commit war crimes (petitions which thus far have been rejected), but the UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has just issued a letter to Netanyahu’s office calling for Israel to “stop and think seriously about the repercussions of a military offensive” on Rafah.
  • The Foreign Secretary’s office wrote that “we continue to urge Israel to ensure that it limits its operations to military targets and take all possible steps to avoid harming civilians and destroying homes.” Importantly that’s when the letter emphasized that in the case of a military assault on Rafah “it is difficult to see how this could be achieved.”

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Despite being publicly and privately warned, Israel has begun bombing Rafah in the Gaza Strip

Rescued-Israeli-Hostages

Important Takeaways:

  • Israeli forces rescue 2 hostages in Rafah and hammer the crowded city
  • The dramatic rescue of Fernando Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, came amid mounting international concerns over a planned Israeli ground assault on Rafah.
  • Israeli forces retrieved the two Israeli men taken captive during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in a “complex” overnight operation carried out “under fire in the heart of Rafah,” Israel Defense Forces spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said.
  • The operation included a “wave of strikes” to help “enable the force’s disengagement” and strike Hamas operatives in the area, he said.
  • The strikes set off widespread panic, according to the NBC News crew, with crowds racing to take loved ones, including children, to the Kuwait Hospital.
  • The IDF had confirmed overnight that its forces conducted strikes in the area of Shaboura

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Gaza is open again, to the south. But for how long?

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (Reuters) – A fleet of yellow Mercedes taxis lines up outside Gaza’s newly reopened Rafah crossing into Egypt, polished again and ready to roll, but with no idea for how long.

Uncertainty is a fact of life in the Palestinian border town, where 4,500 people have crossed into Egypt in the two weeks since one of Gaza’s few lifelines to the outside world swung open on Feb. 9.

The opening eased the years-long blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt on the coastal strip, compounded by measures imposed by all sides to halt the spread of COVID-19.

It arose from political maneuvering: Egyptian-brokered mediation talks between rival Palestinian factions to smooth the way for possible elections.

But the travelers have no idea how long the gate will stay open.

“To me, Rafah crossing is my source of living. If it opens, I live, and I eat and buy clothes,” said Saif Rusrus, 21, who left school to sell pastries there. “As long as there are disputes, the crossing will continue to open and close.”

Israel and Egypt cite security concerns for the restrictions, pointing to the fact that Gaza is controlled by the Islamist militant group Hamas.

The two countries allow passage for thousands of workers and humanitarian cases each year, but most of Gaza’s two million Palestinians cannot leave.

“Gaza turns into a big prison when Rafah crossing is closed,” said hepatitis patient Uday Zaanin, 38, as he waited to board the bus.

(Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi in Rafah; Writing by Stephen Farrell in Jerusalem; Editing by Giles Elgood)