US military officials give Israel alternatives to Rafah operation

The alternative plan includes technological advances to secure the Gaza-Egypt border, a major source of arms smuggling, including border closures and using cameras and sensors.

By JNS

The Americans have presented their alternative to a full-scale Israeli military invasion of Gaza’s Rafah city, Kan News reported on Saturday night.

Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi in a recent conversation that “we will not accept any more thousands of innocent deaths in Rafah, as in Gaza [City] and Khan Yunis,” according to the report.

The Biden administration opposes a military invasion of Rafah, where over one million Gazans have sheltered during the war, causing friction with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Instead, the highest-ranking military officer in the U.S. offered Halevi an alternative plan for Rafah, Hamas’s last bastion in Gaza. According to Israeli estimates, the final four Hamas battalions are concentrated in the city, comprising roughly 3,000 terrorists.

The alternative plan includes technological advances to secure the Gaza-Egypt border, a major source of arms smuggling, including border closures and using cameras and sensors.

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It also includes the isolation and encirclement of Rafah by Israeli forces, with targeted raids based on intelligence information.

Smoke rises after Israeli airstrikes seen from Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, Jan. 31, 2024. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

Finally, the plan involves the establishment of a joint U.S.-Israeli command center to coordinate activities in the Gaza Strip.

The conversation between Brown and Halevi took place last week during a visit to the Pentagon led by Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to discuss the pending Rafah operation, which Netanyahu has already approved.

According to Kan, Gallant presented the Americans with a detailed evacuation plan for Rafah’s noncombatants, involving moving the population to areas in the southern and central Strip.

Channel 12 reported last week that Netanyahu has ordered 40,000 tents from China for this purpose and that the IDF has already begun isolating Rafah.

According to the Kan report, the White House is also concerned that Israel has not made plans for who will rule Gaza the day after Hamas is defeated.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met earlier this month with the foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, where a proposal was made for Arab forces to be stationed in Gaza, Judea and Samaria.

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An Arab diplomat familiar with the details of the Blinken meeting told Kan that the proposal took place as part of an effort “to launch a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, and to implement the two-state solution.”

Brown also said last week that Israel did not receive all of the weapons and parts that it had requested from the United States.

“Although we support them in terms of obtaining various capabilities, they did not get everything they asked for,” Brown said. “Part of that is because they asked for things that we don’t have the ability to provide right now, or we’re not willing to provide right now.”

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