Gantz: ‘The IDF not operating in Rafah is like extinguishing 80% of a fire’

Biden Administration officials expressed skepticism about the IDF’s ability to safely evacuate such a large number of Gazan civilians from Rafah.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

When Israeli War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz met with Biden Administration officials on Monday, he explained why operating in Rafah in southern Gaza is crucial to Israel winning the war.

Gantz told National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that “ending the war without clearing out Rafah is like sending a firefighter to extinguish 80% of the fire.”

The Biden Administration has urged Israel not to operate in Rafah given the fact that 1.2 million civilians are located there.

The IDF recently presented the War Cabinet with a full plan for the Rafah operation, including the orderly evacuation of Palestinian civilians.

However, Biden Administration officials expressed skepticism when they met with Gantz about the IDF’s ability to safely evacuate such a large number of Gazan civilians from Rafah.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has called Rafah “the last bastion” of Hamas and has emphasized that clearing Rafah of Hamas is crucial to winning the war.

At a press conference in Jerusalem in mid-February, Netanyahu said, “Those who want to prevent us from operating in Rafah are essentially telling us: ‘Lose the war.”

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He added, “I won’t let that happen … We won’t capitulate to any pressure.”

Vice President Kamala Harris criticized Israel concerning humanitarian aid in a speech in Alabama on Sunday.

“The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. No excuses,” Harris said to the crowd.

When Benny Gantz met with Kamala Harris and other White House officials, they emphasized that Israel should allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza and even suggested that Israel was being disingenuous with claims it was doing everything possible in this area.

Gantz responded that Israel’s issue is with the distribution of aid, and that usually Hamas seizes the aid for their own purposes and in order wield control over the citizens in Gaza.

Biden Administration officials also urged Gantz that Israel should allow the Palestinian Authority to take charge of Gaza after the war.

However, Gantz said Israel’s government rejects this proposal since the Palestinian Authority is still sympathetic to Hamas and suggested that a “Gaza civil administration” should be formed to rule Gaza instead.