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Biden administration reportedly switches position on IDF's Rafah op after nearly one million Gazans successfully evacuated

People ride on a vehicle loaded with belongings, as Palestinians prepare to evacuate, after Israeli forces launched a ground and air operation in the eastern part of Rafah, May 11, 2024. (Photo: REUTERS/Hatem Khaled)

The Biden administration previously voiced strong opposition to Israel conducting a military operation against Hamas terrorist forces in Rafah due to the presence of over one million Gazan civilians in the area.

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan claimed Israel had “no credible plan” concerning securing the large civilian population concentrated in the southern Gaza town.

However, following Israel’s rapid and successful evacuation of almost one million Gazans from Rafah, the White House reportedly backtracked on its previous position, according to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report on Thursday.

"We’re walking away from Israel’s ability to wage war in those areas," U.S. President Joe Biden said.

The U.S. had estimated it would take at least two months for Israel to evacuate the one million civilians in Rafah, however, the Israeli military succeeded in clearing the area in just 2 weeks.

An unnamed U.S. official confirmed that Israel had adjusted its approach in order to meet U.S. expectations.

"It’s fair to say that the Israelis have updated their plans. They’ve incorporated many of the concerns that we have expressed," the official said while indicating that Israel may potentially be able to revive the stalled indirect hostage negotiations with Hamas.

The White House also indicated that it is satisfied with the IDF's strategy to conduct targeted operations against terrorists in various locations in the Rafah area as opposed to a large-scale incursion. Israeli forces have so far eliminated dozens of Hamas terrorists in Rafah with civilians out of harm's way.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior Israeli official revealed that the Biden administration is usually slow with its support for various Israeli military operations.

"This administration never supports anything we do until we do it," the Israeli official told the WSJ.

During the last seven months, Israel Defense Forces has degraded the majority of Hamas’ battalions in Gaza. However, the terror group still maintains four battalions in Rafah, which is strategically located close to the Egyptian border.

Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have repeatedly emphasized that Israel cannot permit Hamas to continue its control over Gaza because of the threat it poses to the country.

In early May, Israeli forces captured the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza. The Rafah crossing is considered strategically important for Hamas to continue operating and uses the Rafah crossing and its border tunnels to smuggle weapons and other goods into the Gaza Strip.

By controlling the Rafah crossing, Israel is now making it much more difficult for Hamas to rearm and replenish its military inventory.

However, Israel’s control of the Rafah border crossing has led to a diplomatic crisis with Egypt. While Cairo has led indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel, it reportedly refuses to coordinate humanitarian aid deliveries with Israel at the Rafah crossing as it opposes the presence of Israeli forces in the area.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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