Netanyahu Okays Operation Against Hamas Stronghold

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced this week that he directed an attack on the Gaza city of Rafah, which is the last stronghold of the Hamas terrorist organization. Authorizing the operation would represent a violation of President Joe Biden’s self-described “red line” in the conflict.

Israel announced that the operation would also factor in the evacuation of civilians. The country will also continue negotiations attempting to release the estimated 100 hostages still in Hamas’ control.

The attack has been long expected, with the prime minister saying that it would occur even if there was a temporary ceasefire. Israel has captured much of the territory’s northern part, destroying much of Hamas’ military capability.

Netanyahu’s announcement came after Biden echoed criticism from Senate Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) from earlier this week. Schumer called for new elections to possibly replace Netanyahu and stated that he believed that the prime minister could make Israel into a “pariah.”

On Friday, Biden said that Schumer gave a “good speech.”

The exact timing of the attack is not clear. It could start as early as today. The operation targets the Palestinian city where Hamas’ last four battalions are. The terrorist group launched the terrorist attack last Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 people.

Furthermore, the Biden administration has been increasing pressure on Israel in the last several weeks. This includes the conflict during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Israel agreed to terms for a ceasefire, but Hamas rejected them.

Biden is under increasing pressure from Arab and Muslim American leaders. Many in the community believe that the White House is too friendly with Israel. Muslim and Arab American voters make up a small but significant minority in several states crucial for winning the Electoral College in November, including Minnesota and Michigan.

The president also announced using the U.S. military to build a temporary port in Gaza to help deliver humanitarian aid.

Both the port plan and the president’s comments received considerable criticism from congressional Republicans.