Talks between US and Israeli officials to avoid military invasion of Rafah | Liberal

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A video conference will be held today between senior Israeli and US officials to discuss alternative proposals by the Biden administration to an Israeli military invasion of Rafah, in Gaza Stripthe White House announced, a week after Israel canceled a delegation visit to Washington.

White House spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre said the United States has made known its concerns about any large-scale operation in Rafah, the last relatively safe haven for more than a million displaced Palestinian civilians.

“If they are going to go ahead with a military operation, we have to have this conversation,” Jean-Pierre said. “We have to understand how they will proceed,” he added.

The spokeswoman said national security adviser Jake Sullivan will lead talks on Rafa on behalf of the US side.

“The meeting is scheduled for today online. There will probably be a face-to-face meeting later in the week,” a source who asked not to be named told AFP, adding that other “face-to-face meetings” are planned.

The announcement by Israel of the upcoming attack on Rafah, a city in the southern part of the Gaza Strip where 1.5 million Palestinians, most of them displaced, are crowded, caused great concern among the international community.

The point is to “understand what their plans are for any operations in Rafah, to understand how they will move or conduct operations (in a territory) with a very high population density, over a million people,” said Sabrina Singh, a spokeswoman. of the Pentagon, during the press briefing.

The spokeswoman did not confirm the Defense Department’s participation in the talks, but a US official said US Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken was expected to attend.

Israel had decided not to send a delegation to Washington as planned to discuss its plan to attack Rafah, after the US abstained in a UN Security Council vote on March 25 that allowed the first-ever approval of a resolution that calls for an immediate “ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip, more than five months after the start of the Israeli offensive.

The US, Israel’s main ally, opposes any large-scale ground attack on Rafah. President Joe Biden had asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to send a delegation to Washington for consultations on Israel’s Rafah plans.

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