Israeli Defense Minister Contradicts Netanyahu, Says No Date Set for Rafah Invasion

Yoav Gallant made the comments to Lloyd Austin in a call on Thursday, according to Axios

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has contradicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by saying Israel has not set a date to launch its invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, Axios reported on Tuesday.

Netanyahu made the claim on Monday that “there is a date” for a full-scale assault on Rafah, where over 1 million Palestinians are sheltering. The US State Department responded by saying the US hadn’t been briefed on the Israeli plans and that it was unaware a date had been set.

On Tuesday, Gallant spoke with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and informed him a date hasn’t been set. Haaretz also reported that was the message Gallant conveyed to Austin.

An Israeli invasion of Rafah would incur a huge number of civilian casualties and would further disrupt aid shipments into Gaza coming in through the Rafah border crossing from Egypt, which would add to the starvation blockade on the Strip.

US officials have been warning Israel against attacking Rafah without coming up with a plan to protect the civilians who are sheltering there, but it doesn’t appear that the Biden administration is threatening any real consequences if Israel goes ahead with the invasion anyway.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday that he believed US and Israeli officials will discuss the plans to attack Rafah next week. Blinken said the US does “not have a date for any operation, at least one that’s been communicated to us by the Israelis. What we have is an ongoing conversation with Israel on any operation.”

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US “still hasn’t seen a credible and executable plan to account for Rafah evacuation and civilian care.”

Author: Dave DeCamp

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