Netanyahu Announces Plan to Move Forward with Rafah Operation, US Not Seen Credible Plan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he wants to move forward with a military operation in the heavily populated city of Rafah regardless of whether a ceasefire and hostage release deal is reached. Rafah is a southern city in Gaza. It’s where more than a million people have fled and taken refuge. The State Department has repeatedly stated they are against a military operation in Rafah until Israel can present a credible plan for protecting the civilians. They said so far there has not been a credible plan presented to them so far. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting Israel this week. The Secretary said the focus now is on improving the humanitarian situation and finalizing a deal that will have a cease fire and release the hostages Hamas is still holding. On top of Netanyahu’s announcement on Rafah, he also took to social media claiming the International Criminal Court (ICC) is contemplating issuing arrest warrants against senior Israeli officers as war criminals. The State Department was asked about those comments by Netanyahu: 

“The crux of this for the United States is we do not believe that the ICC has jurisdiction on this,” said Vedant Patel, deputy spokesperson for the State Department. “That being said, we work closely with the ICC on a number of key areas. We think they do important work, important work as it relates to Ukraine, Darfur, Sudan but again on this incidence they just do not have jurisdiction.” 

In Netanyahu’s comments on the ICC potential arrest warrants, he goes on to say branding Israeli leaders as war criminals will put jet fuel on fires of antisemitism. He adds those fires are already raging on the campuses across America and across the capitals around the world.