Biden made an unexpected warning to the Israeli Prime Minister: there will be a “bloodbath”

Biden made an unexpected warning to the Israeli Prime Minister: there will be a “bloodbath”

Even the US is calling on Netanyahu to slow down in Gaza

US President Biden has warned Netanyahu against an Israeli army operation in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip without a "credible" security plan. U.N. officials and Biden said an attack on the Palestinian town, where some 1.3 million Palestinians are sheltering, would lead to a “bloodbath.”

In a phone call with Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, Joe Biden told the Israeli prime minister that Israel should not launch a military operation in Rafah “without a credible and feasible plan to provide security and support for the more than a million people sheltering there.”

According to The Guardian, the telephone conversation between the US president and Netanyahu was the first between the two leaders since Biden on Thursday used the phrase “over the top” to describe Israel's military strikes on Gaza in response to the Hamas attack on October 7.

In their first phone call since Jan. 19, Biden and Netanyahu discussed Israel's ongoing campaign in Gaza, the return of hostages held by Hamas and an expected Israeli ground offensive on the city of Rafah that has raised concerns in the United States and other countries in the region.

“The President reaffirmed our common goal to defeat Hamas and ensure the long-term security of Israel and its people. The President and Prime Minister discussed ongoing efforts to free all remaining hostages held by Hamas,” the White House said in a statement.

Over the past few months, the US has tried to put more pressure on the Israeli government to support a “humanitarian pause” in its war against Hamas. But these efforts have not been very successful, CNN emphasizes.

Last week, Netanyahu called recent Hamas proposals for a ceasefire and a hostage deal in Gaza “delusional.”

Biden and United Nations officials have warned that an Israeli ground offensive in Rafah, where some 1.3 million Palestinians are sheltering, would lead to a “bloodbath.” The Israeli military appears determined to continue its offensive while it remains unclear where large numbers of civilians can be safely moved to escape danger.

More than half of Gaza's population fled to Rafah, which is near Israel's border with Egypt. And the UN has said that a quarter of this population is at risk of starvation, The Guardian notes.

Israel has already carried out airstrikes on Rafah, killing and wounding several people. Netanyahu said Israel would continue its ground campaign in Rafah but insisted plans were still being developed.

A ground operation in Rafah could cut off one of the only available routes to deliver desperately needed medicine and food to civilians in Gaza. Gaza's health ministry said more than 28,000 people have died there since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that killed about 1,200 people.

Biden's national security adviser John Kirby said the US would not approve any attack on Rafah without due consideration of the civilian population.

This kind of military operation “would be a disaster,” Kirby argues, “and it’s not something we would support.”

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