Netanyahu Doubles Down On Rafah Op, Abbas Asks Hamas To Close Hostage Deal

By JPost
Posted on 02/14/24 | News Source: JPost

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted that he planned to move forward with a military operation in Gaza’s Rafah, as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Hamas to finalize a hostage deal with Israel to prevent such action.

“We will fight until complete victory with a powerful action, including in Rafah after we allow the civilian population to leave the combat zone,” Netanyahu wrote in a post on X.

He spoke out amid strong international condemnation of any potential operation in Rafah, which is near the Egyptian border.

Netanyahu has promised that he would move forward only once a plan to protect civilians in Rafah had been completed.

International concern, however, is high for the fate of over 1.3 million Palestinians in Rafah, many of whom fled there to escape bombings in the northern part of the enclave.

The possibility of an IDF operation in Rafah, an area considered to be the last Hamas stronghold, has also become a pressure lever to force the terror group to make a hostage deal with Israel.

In an unusual move, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on Hamas to soften its demands because a hostage deal was likely to prevent an IDF operation in Gaza.

“We call on everyone, especially the Hamas movement, to quickly complete the [hostage] deal so that we can protect our people and remove all obstacles,” Abbas said, according to the Palestine News Agency, WAFA.

“We hold everyone responsible for placing any obstacles from any party to disrupt the deal because things are no longer tolerable, and it is time for everyone to bear responsibility,” Abbas said.