Biden Speaks With Netanyahu After Schumer Controversy

The White House reports President Biden and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on March 18th, marking their first engagement in over a month. The gap between the two partners has been widening due to food shortages in Gaza and the course of the war.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer harshly condemned Netanyahu’s conduct in the war in Gaza and urged Israelis to push for new elections. Republicans in DC and Israeli officials voiced outrage. The Democrats’ leader was accused of violating the unspoken norm by interfering in the elections of close allies.

Although he has not officially backed Schumer’s demand for new elections, Biden did say that Schumer delivered a good statement.

Netanyahu informed Israelis that, over White House resistance, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were getting ready to launch an offensive on the final Hamas battalions in Rafah.

Additionally, Netanyahu said that top Israeli officials and representatives from the Biden administration would be meeting soon to discuss the humanitarian aspect of the military action and the evacuation of Palestinians.

An Israeli attack on Rafah would be counterproductive to defeating Hamas, according to the White House claims issued last week. However, Netanyahu seems unfazed by these concerns.

The town of Rafah is located in southern Gaza, close to the border with Egypt. Some believe it represents the last bastion of the terrorist group Hamas, where they are concealing themselves and the 134 Israeli hostages they still have. Reports show that smugglers use this location extensively.

Israel claims that capturing Rafah is vital to their triumph in the battle because it would allow them to destroy the last four battalions of Hamas in southern Gaza and stop the leaders of Hamas from fleeing.

Netanyahu has previously said that the mission in Rafah would take several weeks, not months, although he has not provided a definite start date.