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Israel seeks new date for cancelled US meeting on Rafah offensive plans | Israel War on Gaza News


Israeli PM had called off Washington visit after US did not veto UN Security Council resolution on Gaza ceasefire.

Israel has asked the United States to reschedule a meeting to discuss its military operation in Gaza’s Rafah days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly cancelled a planned visit to Washington.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday told reporters that “we’re now working with them to find a convenient date that’s obviously going to work for both sides”.

Netanyahu was angry that the US on Monday did not veto a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the release of captives being held in the enclave.

He reacted by scrapping a scheduled visit to Washington by a senior Israeli delegation as relations between the allies spiralled to new lows.

US officials said the administration of President Joe Biden was perplexed by the cancellation and considered it an overreaction to the resolution, insisting there had been no change in policy.

No date has yet been finalised for the meeting, but US news outlet Axios reported that it could take place as early as next week.

The Israeli team will still be led by Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, two of Netanyahu’s close confidantes, according to a US official.

Netanyahu has approved plans for a long-threatened ground invasion of Rafah – the southernmost tip of Gaza where about 1.5 million displaced Palestinians have sought shelter – despite warnings from Israel’s allies and critics who fear mass civilian casualties.

The United Nations has warned Israel that such an operation “could lead to a slaughter in Gaza”.

Last week, Netanyahu said Israel was determined to send troops into Rafah and would do so without US backing, if necessary.

Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara said it was “foolish, stupid and shortsighted” of Netanyahu to cancel the original meeting.

The Israeli prime minister was angry that the US did not veto the resolution “because he thinks Biden takes orders from him. He thinks America takes orders from Israel”, he added.

Netanyahu on Wednesday said his decision to cancel was meant to deliver a message to Hamas that international pressure against Israel will not prompt it to end the war without concessions from the group.

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