U.S. and Israel set to hold a virtual meeting on Rafah Monday

01-04-2024 10:46 AM

Ammon News - The U.S. and Israel are expected to hold a virtual meeting on Monday to discuss the Biden administration's alternative proposals to an Israeli military invasion of Rafah, four Israeli and U.S. officials told Axios.

After the U.S. last week didn't veto a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all hostages, Netanyahu announced he was cancelling the meeting in protest.

The Biden administration said an operation in Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians are sheltering, could lead to mass casualties and exacerbate the humanitarian disaster on Gaza.

Senior Israeli officials said holding a virtual meeting is a way for Netanyahu to "save face" and have a discussion with the White House about Rafah without sending a delegation to Washington.

The meeting will take place on a secure video conference call, Israeli and U.S. officials told Axios.

White House National Security adviser Jake Sullivan is expected to lead the U.S. side in the meeting, with representatives from the Pentagon, State Department and the U.S. intelligence agencies participating.

Netanyahu's closest confidant, Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer and Netanyahu's national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi are going to lead the talks from the Israeli side with senior Israeli defense and intelligence officials participating.

A senior Israeli official said a second meeting, in person, is planned to take place as soon as next week.

The White House and the Israeli Prime Minister's office declined to comment.

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