Defiant Netanyahu Vows To Cross Biden's Rafah 'Red Line': "We Are Not Getting Off The Gas"

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Mar 11, 2024 - 05:20 PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hit back at Biden after the US president issued a "red line" warning against a military ground attack on the refugee-packed city of Rafah in Gaza's south.

Starting Sunday Netanyahu responded by vowing to press forward with the planned offensive on Rafah, believed to be imminent, when asked about the Biden red line statement. "We'll go there. We're not going to leave them. You know, I have a red line. You know what the red line is? That October 7 doesn't happen again. Never happens again."

Biden had told MSNBC on Saturday that an attack on Rafah is a red line for the administration, but as we underscored earlier he didn't attach any potential consequences to such an action. "But there’s red lines that if he crosses them — you cannot have 30,000 more Palestinians dead as a consequence of going after" Hamas, Biden said. "There’s other ways to deal with, to get to, to deal with the trauma caused by Hamas."

Via CNN 

Biden then asserted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is "hurting Israel more than helping Israel" in the way the war against Hamas is being executed. 

Netanyahu in response to this told Politico, "I don't know exactly what the president meant." The Israeli leader hit back as follows: "But if he meant by that, that I'm pursuing private policies against the wishes of the majority of Israelis and that this is hurting the interests of Israel, then he's wrong on both counts."

And in a Monday interview with Fox News, Netanyahu went so far as to suggest that Biden's words are harming the counter-terror mission by presenting a disunified front on what are supposed to be common Washington-Israel aims.

"To the extent that Hamas believes that there’s daylight between us, that doesn’t help," said Netanyahu. However, he pointed out that unity and agreement in terms of objectives "helps the war effort, and it helps our efforts to achieve victory and obviously the release of the hostages." 

He also addressed the question of a post-war two state solution being pushed by the Biden administration. "You don’t have an issue with me. You have an issue with the entire people of Israel," he claimed. "They’re really united as never before, united to destroy Hamas, and ensure that we don’t have another Palestinian terror state like the one that we had in Gaza that could threaten the State of Israel."

Also in this latest Monday Fox interview Netanyahu reaffirmed he is not wavering from sending his forces into Rafah:

"The president and I have agreed that we have to destroy Hamas. We can’t leave a quarter of the Hamas terror army in place there in Rafah," he says. “We have agreements on the basic goals, but we also have disagreements. Ultimately, it’s Israel that has to decide.”

Hitting back at Biden’s comment that going into Rafah is a “red line” for him, Netanyahu says leaving Hamas forces there intact is "a red line. We can’t let Hamas survive."

"We are not getting off the gas" in the war on Hamas, Netanyahu insists.

Crucially, in Biden's initial Saturday red line comments, he stopped short of saying he would cut off weapons and ammunition supplies to Israel, which remain vital in its war against Hamas.

Some pundits have said the Israel Defense Forces could not possibly sustain the war for very long without American-supplied weapons. Still, Biden administration sources have lately spoken of rising anger and frustration at the White House with Israeli leadership. Ceasefire talks still don't seem to be going well, but Netanyahu has said he will greenlight a Rafah offensive to root out Hamas leadership even if a deal is reached.