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White House, Israeli representatives discuss Rafah situation: Pentagon

Israel plans a military operation in Rafah, but faces strong opposition from the EU and others. The EU and US urges Israel to refrain from the operation and advocates for Gaza's return to Palestinian Authority rule.

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published April 18,2024

The White House and Israeli representatives on Thursday discussed the situation in Gaza's city of Rafah, a Pentagon spokesman announced.

"The White House was hosting a session today with senior Israeli representatives to discuss the Rafah situation," Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters.

Ryder added that a readout will come out later in the day.

"Our position has not changed in terms of the importance of ensuring that humanitarian assistance and civilian safety are taken into account as Israel conducts its operations against Hamas," he added.


The EU has strongly urged Israel to step back from its intention to undertake a military operation in Rafah, a southern Gaza Strip city, packed with 1.4 million displaced Palestinians.

"We strongly urge Israel not to undertake a ground operation in Rafah," Sven Koopmans, the EU high representative for the Middle East Peace Process, told a Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

He went on to say that Gaza in its entirety needs to be returned to the rule by the Palestinian Authority and "be part of that future free state of Palestine."

"The European Union sees the urgent need for a sovereign, secure and peaceful state of Palestine alongside a sovereign, secure and peaceful state of Israel," he added.

The Israeli army has unveiled plans to invade Rafah, where more than 1.5 million people have taken refuge from Israel's ongoing war on the Palestinian enclave, despite opposition from several countries, including the US.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7, 2023 cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

Nearly 34,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, and over 76,800 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.