Israel Threatens Rafah Invasion If Hostage Deal Not Reached

Hamas is reviewing Israel's latest proposal

Israeli officials are threatening to invade Rafah if a hostage deal is not reached amid Egyptian and Qatari-mediated negotiations with Hamas.

Axios reported on Friday that Israeli officials told their Egyptian counterparts that Israel is giving Hamas “one last chance” to reach a deal. If an agreement is not reached, Israel will order a ground invasion of Rafah, which is packed with over 1 million civilians.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Saturday that Israel could suspend its plans to launch an assault on Rafah. “If there is a deal, we will suspend the operation,” he said. “The release of the hostages is a deep priority for us.”

Hamas is currently reviewing Israel’s latest proposal, which reportedly includes a proposal to discuss a “restoration of sustainable calm” as part of a second phase after an initial round of hostage and prisoner exchanges. Israeli officials deny that the offer was an agreement to reach a permanent ceasefire, something Hamas has been proposing for months.

An unnamed Hamas official told AFP on Sunday that there were no “major” issues with Israel’s latest proposal. “The atmosphere is positive unless there are new Israeli obstacles. There are no major issues in the observations and inquiries submitted by Hamas regarding the contents,” the official said.

However, a Hamas official told Al Mayadeen that the Israeli proposal does not reflect a fundamental shift in Israel’s position. “[Hamas] is still studying the Israeli proposal in the negotiations, but there are no great expectations for its acceptance unless fundamental amendments are made to it,” the official said.

Hamas is expected to give its formal response to Egyptian and Qatari mediators on Monday. In the meantime, the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza continues. Israeli strikes hit three houses in Rafah early Monday morning and killed at least 13 Palestinians.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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