- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that Israel will evacuate displaced Palestinians from Rafah, who represent more than half the population of the Gaza Strip, before Israeli forces move into the city. Associated Press (LR: 3 CP: 5)
- Netanyahu, who earlier this week called a Hamas counteroffer on a hostage deal "delusional," claimed that the group still has four battalions in Rafah and Israel must eliminate them to achieve its war goals, adding that any operation would require evacuating civilians. The Times of Israel
- These comments come one day after US Pres. Joe Biden said Israel's military response in Gaza has been "over the top" and that his administration was pushing "very hard" for a deal between Israel and Hamas. Reuters (LR: 3 CP: 5)
- Meanwhile, US National Security spokesperson John Kirby said the US "would not support" a major Israeli military operation in Rafah under the current conditions. The border town has been hit by steady airstrikes throughout the war. Washington Post (LR: 2 CP: 5)
- The possibility of such an operation has stoked tension with Egypt, which has consistently opposed the displacement of Palestinians from Gaza. The Egyptian military has reportedly deployed tanks and armored personnel carriers to the border with the enclave to bolster security. FOX News (LR: 4 CP: 4)
- Gaza's health ministry reports that the conflict has killed almost 28K people in the Gaza Strip, the majority of whom were women and children. The war has also created a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation. The official Israeli death toll on Oct. 7 stands at around 1.2K people (and there are still over 100 hostages being held in the Gaza Strip). Associated Press (LR: 3 CP: 5)
- Israel's war against Hamas is just, given the atrocities the group committed during its Oct. 7 attack. However, Israel must take into account the innocent civilians in Gaza who are trapped between Israel's military machine and Hamas' terrorist fighters. Israel has not yet created acceptable conditions to move into Rafah, and it must have a concrete plan to evacuate civilians from any areas in which it will operate.
VOICE OF AMERICA
- Though this has been a tragic war, Israel must eliminate Hamas once and for all to ensure Israel's security. To eliminate its capacity for terror, Israel has been forced to use blunt tools to rout Hamas forces, as they are so deeply dug into Gaza's civil infrastructure. Israel has worked hard to compromise and ensure the safety of civilians, but it will have to go into Rafah if an agreement is not reached soon.
JERUSALEM POST (LR: 3 CP: 5)
- Israel continues to demonstrate that its war is not against Hamas but against the Palestinian people as a whole. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is already far beyond catastrophic, as over 1M Palestinians barely survive in dense and muddy tent camps while battling famine and disease. If Israel were to push into Rafah as it did Gaza City and Khan Younis, the consequences would be absolutely dire.
AL JAZEERA (LR: 2 CP: 1)
- There's a 56% chance that Israel will have de facto power in the Gaza Strip on January 1, 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.
METACULUS (LR: 3 CP: 3)