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Israel Postpones Rafah Offensive Plans Due To Disagreement

According to insiders, Israel postpones its plans for the Rafah offensive due to a contentious disagreement over how to respond to the Iranian strike.

Israel was prepared to launch a ground invasion on the Gaza city of Rafah, but due to Iran’s attack over the weekend, which prompted a contentious discussion in the war council over how to react, Israeli officials told CNN, Israel had to postpone the campaign.

According to two Israeli sources, the Israeli Air Force was going to start distributing leaflets on some areas of Rafah on Monday as part of the preparations for a ground invasion into the southernmost city of Gaza, where over a million people are seeking refuge.

Following Iran’s retaliatory onslaught over the weekend, which saw more than 300 rockets fired towards Israel—the great majority of which were intercepted by Israel and its partners.

According to an Israeli official, Israel is still committed to launching a land offensive in Rafah, even if it is currently unknown when the civilian evacuations and the ground offensive would take place.

The Israeli military remained silent on the matter.

Meanwhile, the war cabinet is still committed to retaliating against Iran’s aggression. It examined military preparations for a possible reaction on Monday at a nearly three-hour meeting, according to an Israeli official. As of right now, it’s unclear when or what form that response will take, though.

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Iran’s attack “will be greeted with a response,” according to IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, while IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari stated that the force will do ““all is necessary” to defend Israel and “will do that at the time we choose.”

According to two Israeli officials, Benny Gantz, a significant member of the war cabinet, has advocated for a quicker reaction to Iran’s attack. Thus yet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refrained from making a decision.

According to the sources, Gantz thinks it will be more difficult to get international backing for an attack like this the longer Israel waits to respond to Iran’s offensive. Israel is already receiving advice from a number of nations not to use force to respond, as this would further escalate the situation.

Israel’s administration is conscious of the goodwill and international support it is currently receiving from its allies and does not want to waste it. The administration is aware that it cannot remain silent in the face of Iran’s initial attack on Israeli territory.

According to an Israeli official, the war cabinet is thinking of attacking an Iranian facility as one of the military alternatives to convey a message without resulting in casualties.

However, Israeli authorities understand that will be a challenging needle to thread, which is why there is still discussion. A decision’s timeline is still unknown.

Push for a de-escalation

Following Iran’s attack over the weekend, Netanyahu has been under pressure from throughout the world to defuse a tense situation.

Attackers claimed to have struck an Iranian diplomatic facility in Syria earlier this month, killing at least seven people, including senior commander Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi and top Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commander Mohammed Reza Zahedi.

According to a senior White House administration official who spoke with CNN, US President Joe Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following the weekend strike and made it plain that the US would not take part in any aggressive operations against Iran.

Since Iran’s attacks had mostly failed, Biden advised Netanyahu that he should view Saturday night’s events as a “win,” as they showed Israel’s “remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks.”

However, Gantz emphasized on Sunday the necessity of “forming a regional alliance and pressing Iran to pay a price, in a manner and at a time that works for us.”

Although Israel and Iran have always been adversaries, tensions increased after Hamas attacked Israel, killing over 1,200 people. Since the attacks, Iran has supported a network of proxies around the Middle East that have regularly contended with Israel.

An impending offensive in Rafah

Despite strong pressure from the US to abandon an all-out ground invasion, Netanyahu has emphasized the significance of entering Rafah in order to destroy Hamas’s last battalions.

A forthcoming ground offensive in Rafah and the outcome of the battle in Gaza will also influence the war cabinet’s debate about a potential response to Iran’s attack.

Israel’s administration has pledged to deliver a comprehensive defeat to Hamas in Gaza; a military response that runs the risk of intensifying the confrontation with Iran would divert military focus and resources from that area.

Israels war cabinet met Sunday but did not reach a decision on how to respond Ariel HermoniIMoD

The US has not seen anything like a full strategy from the Israelis on how they would execute such an operation, including first evacuating the majority of the estimated 1.4 million inhabitants from Rafah, as US officials reiterated last week.

In the early phases of the conflict, Palestinians from all across Gaza fled to the city, which is located south of the territory, to avoid an oncoming Israeli military.

Unfortunately, the closed Egyptian border to the south means that those Palestinians, many of whom are living in tents surrounding the city.


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