White House Says US, Israel Have ‘Shared Objective To See Hamas Defeated in Rafah’

US and Israeli officials held talks on a potential Rafah assault on Thursday

The White House said in a statement on Thursday that the US and Israel have a “shared objective to see Hamas defeated in Rafah,’ the southern Gaza city that’s packed with over 1 million Palestinian civilians.

The statement came following talks between US and Israeli officials that covered Iran’s reprisal attack on Israel and Israeli plans to invade Rafah. The US has expressed “concerns” about the potential assault because it will cause mass civilian casualties but appears to ultimately support the idea of Israel attacking the city.

The talks were led by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and, on the Israel side, Minister for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer and National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi.

“The two sides agreed on the shared objective to see Hamas defeated in Rafah. US participants expressed concerns with various courses of action in Rafah, and Israeli participants agreed to take these concerns into account and to have further follow up discussions,” the White House said.

The same officials discussed Rafah on April 1, and the White House released a nearly identical readout. After the first round of talks, US officials said that Israel has not presented any kind of plan to account for the more than 1 million civilians in Rafah.

Israeli sources told CNN that Iran’s attack on Israel actually delayed Israel’s plan to attack Rafah. They said the Israeli Air Force was set to drop leaflets on Rafah on Monday to tell the civilians in the city that an assault was coming, but the plans were called off. The fact that Israel was about to take that action shows that the US is not putting any significant pressure on Israel, such as threatening to cut off military aid if it goes through with the invasion.

The US has continued to provide unconditional military aid and diplomatic cover to back the slaughter and starvation of Palestinians in Gaza. The Health Ministry in Gaza said on Thursday that at least have been killed in Gaza since October 7, 33,970 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, a number that doesn’t take into account the thousands of Palestinians who are missing and presumed dead under the rubble.

Taking into account deaths caused by starvation and disease, experts are warning the death toll will top 100,000 by August if conditions don’t change and that it will be higher than 120,000 if there is a military escalation, such as an Israeli invasion of Rafah.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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