Netanyahu Now Planning to Send Delegation to US for Rafah Talks

The Israeli leader initially cancelled the trip over the US not vetoing a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now looking to reschedule an Israeli delegation to Washington to discuss Israel’s plans to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which he initially canceled in response to the US not vetoing a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

A US official told The Times of Israel that the two sides were working to schedule the delegation, which will include Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Council chairman Tzachi Hanedgbi. Dermer, an American-born former ambassador to the US, recently vowed Israel will attack Rafah no matter what the US thinks.

An Israel assault on Rafah would incur a huge number of civilian casualties as the city, which has a pre-war population of 275,000, is now packed with 1.5 million Palestinians. For most Palestinians in Rafah, it was the last place to go after being displaced from elsewhere in the Strip multiple times.

Israel launched a series of airstrikes in Rafah on Wednesday, raising fears among the city’s residents of a ground invasion. According to Reuters, the strikes hit four homes and killed at least 15 people.

An invasion of Rafah would also disrupt aid shipments into Gaza even more, as the only border crossing with Egypt is in the city. The US has issued warnings against going through with the invasion, but there’s still no indication that the Biden administration is seriously considering imposing consequences, such as cutting off military aid, if Israel goes through with it anyway.

Dermer said Israel will go ahead with the invasion even if the US and the rest of world “turns on Israel.” But Nimrod Shafer, a retired IDF major general, recently said Israel would not be able to launch a full-scale assault on Rafah without US support.

“What do I mean when I say, ‘If the Americans tell us you not to operate in Rafah, we won’t fight’? We won’t operate in Rafah, maybe we will carry out very small and focused missions but we won’t see anything similar to what happened in the last five months in Gaza if the Americans tell us not to,” Shafer said, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.