Netanyahu says Israel will defy Biden's 'red line' on Rafah

Biden has been increasing pressure on Israel, but Netanyahu stands
L: Joe Biden, Leesburg, Va., Feb. 8, 2024, R: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel, Oct. 12, 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he plans on continuing Israel's operation in the Gaza Strip by entering Rafah, which President Joe Biden called his "red line" in the Israel-Hamas War.

Biden has been sending humanitarian aid to Gaza, where six Americans have been held hostage since Oct. 7, 2023, as he has been increasing pressure on Israel to protect Gazans. Tensions most recently flared between the two global leaders during Biden's MSNBC interview that aired Saturday.  

"What is your red line with Prime Minister Netanyahu? Do you have a red line?" host Jonathan Capehart asked Biden. "For instance, would invasion of Rafah, which you have urged him not to do, would that be a red line?"

"It is a red line, but I'm never gonna leave Israel," Biden responded. "The defense of Israel is still critical, so there's no redline I'm going to cut off all weapons so I don't have the iron dome to protect them, but there's redlines that if he crosses – you cannot have 30,000 more Palestinians dead as a consequence of going after Hamas." 

Biden was referring to the death toll promulgated by the Gaza Health Ministry of more than 30,000 killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023, although the Hamas-run agency does not distinguish between combatant and civilian casualties. Israel launched an operation against Hamas after the Oct. 7 attacks that left about 1,200 people dead in Israel and resulted in the kidnappings of 250 others as approximately 130 remain captive. 

Netanyahu, however, rebuffed Biden's criticism on Sunday when he was asked about whether Israeli forces would enter Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. 

"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," Netanyahu said, according to Politico.

Netanyahu also said several Arab leaders, whom he did not name, tacitly supported his efforts to oust Hamas from power in the strip.

"They understand that, and even agree with it quietly," he said. "They understand Hamas is part of the Iranian terror axis."

Rafah is where four Hamas battalions are located, according to The Jersualem Post

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