‘Biden is wrong’ – Netanyahu rejects president’s criticism of Gaza war, vows to move forward with Rafah operation

Israeli prime minister pushes back on Biden’s claim Netanyahu ‘hurting’ Israel, says Israelis are united in need to annihilate Hamas.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back on criticism by President Joe Biden over the weekend and vowed to move forward with the planned ground operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, defying the president’s warning.

Speaking with Politico Sunday, Netanyahu rejected Biden’s claim that Netanyahu’s handling of the war in Gaza has “hurt” Israel, arguing instead that his government’s policy of destroying Hamas is a mainstream Israeli position.

On Saturday evening, President Biden told MSNBC that Netanyahu’s policies in Gaza are “hurting Israel more than helping Israel,” due to the collateral damage in the current war.

The number of civilian deaths is “contrary to what Israel stands for, and I think it’s a big mistake,” Biden said.

Biden warned Israel that an incursion in Rafah would be a “red line,” while adding that he would never “leave Israel,” calling the defense of the Jewish state “critical.”

Netanyahu fired back Sunday, saying Biden was “wrong” to believe the Netanyahu government’s handling of the war was hurting Israel, or that its policies in this regard do not have broad support domestically.

“I don’t know exactly what the president meant, but if he meant by that that I’m pursuing private policies against the majority, the wish of the majority of Israelis, and that this is hurting the interests of Israel, then he’s wrong on both counts,” Netanyahu said.

“Number one, these are not my private policies, only. They’re policies supported by the overwhelming majority of the Israelis. They support the action that we’re taking to destroy the remaining terrorist battalions of Hamas.”

The prime minister also rejected the Biden administration’s push to position the Palestinian Authority to resume control over Gaza after the current war, as well as pressure on Israel to agree to the formation of a Palestinian state.

“They say that once we destroy the Hamas, the last thing we should do is put in Gaza, in charge of Gaza, the Palestinian Authority that educates its children towards terrorism and pays for terrorism. And they also support my position that says that we should resoundingly reject the attempt to ram down our throats a Palestinian state.”

“That is something that they agree on. And it’s something that I think is also for the interests of Israel because the majority of Israelis understand that if we don’t do this, what we’ll have is a repetition of the October 7th massacre, which is bad for Israel, bad for the Palestinians, bad for the future of peace in the Middle East.”

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“So, the attempt to say that my policies are my private policies that are not supported by most Israelis, is false. The vast majority are united as never before. And they understand what’s good for Israel. They understand what’s important for Israel. And I think they’re right.”

Regarding Israel’s planned operation into Rafah, the Gaza town on the Egyptian border which is now home to a majority of the Strip’s population, Netanyahu defied Biden’s warning, declaring his own “red line.”

“We’ll go there. We’re not going to leave. You know, I have a red line. You know what the red line is, that October 7 doesn’t happen again.”