Hamas: “Truce in Gaza? The ball is now in Israel's court”. Netanyahu to the US: “In Rafah we can move forward even alone”


By John

“The ball is entirely in Israel's court” ahead of a ceasefire deal in Gaza, the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas said today following the departure of his delegation from Egypt where the talks are taking place. Representatives of both sides left Cairo “after two days of negotiations” aimed at achieving a truce in the seven-month war in the Strip, the Arab media Al-Qahera News reported last night. The efforts of Egypt and other mediating countries such as Qatar and the United States “continue to bring the two sides' points of view closer together”, the broadcaster added, citing a source in Cairo.

Meanwhile, new anti-rocket warning sirens are sounding from Gaza to Kerem Shalom in southern Israel, a location that includes the crossing through which humanitarian aid trucks for the Strip pass after security checks. The military spokesman made this known. In the latest Hamas attack a few days ago, four soldiers were killed and Israel closed the crossing.

IDF, 'We have enough weapons for missions, including Rafah'

“The IDF has sufficient weapons for the planned missions, including those in Rafah,” Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said, referring to the US decision to stop part of the arms supplies in opposition to the operation in Rafah. “We have-he explained-what we need.”

Biden warns Israel, 'stop weapons if you invade Rafah'

There is now an open conflict between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, with the head of the White House warning publicly for the first time that if the IDF enters Rafah he will block the sending of American weapons to Israel, that it will no longer have the support of the United States. Also because Washington's belief is that an entry into the southernmost city of the Gaza Strip, where one and a half million displaced people are crammed, “does not guarantee the defeat of Hamas”. Netanyahu, however, carries on and in the evening he convened the War Cabinet and the Security Cabinet to announce that Israel will move forward against Hamas “even alone”, while Biden's comments were defined as “very disappointing” by the Jewish State.

The US president's turning point took place in an interview with CNN, during which he also admitted that “civilians have been killed in Gaza” as a consequence of the bombs supplied by the US and “other ways in which” the Israelis “attack the centers inhabited”. The bombs are the 2,000 pound bombs (approximately 1,000 kg) whose supply, as leaked in recent days, has already been suspended. “We will continue to ensure that Israel has ammunition for the Iron Dome and to defend itself against attacks such as those that have recently come from the Middle East. But it is simply wrong to 'invade Rafah' and we will not supply weapons and artillery shells. I have made it clear that if they enter Rafah, and they haven't entered Rafah yet, I will not provide the weapons,” Biden said. His words caused a political cataclysm in Israel, with the radical right lashing out against the head of the White House. Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, a hawk of Jewish Power, posted the shocking phrase “Hamas loves Biden” on X and was harshly rebuked for this by President Isaac Herzog. But beyond the verbal excesses, the positions within the government seem compact.

Recalling that an arms embargo against Israel was already in force during the 1948 War of Independence, Netanyahu reiterated that “today we are much stronger. We are determined and we are united to defeat our enemy. If we have to remain alone, we will remain alone”https ://gazzettadelsud.it/articoli/mondo/2024/05/10/hamas-tregua-a-gaza-la-palla-ora-e-nelle-mani-di-israele-netanyahu-agli-usa-a-rafah -advance-even-alone-b9603882-1ae1-4130-8a1c-b730d943685f/.”I have already said that, if necessary, we will fight tooth and nail. But we have much more”, assured the prime minister of the Likud. A source close to him went further, claiming that the US threat to stop the weapons “practically buries the hostage deal.” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who also boasts excellent relations with Washington, is equally direct. “I say this to our enemies and our best friends: Israel – he warned – will achieve its objectives in the south (in Gaza) and in the north (with Hezbollah)”. The fact is that if the USA, the main supplier of weapons to the Jewish State, maintains the threat, the country's defense apparatus will not be able to fail to take it into account, not only in the fight against Hamas but also against the Lebanese Hezbollah, to which Iran certainly does not intend to close supplies.

For this reason, an Israeli source admitted that the new scenario could force the government to change the operational plans for the attack on Rafah. Adding that Israel could adopt “an arms economy”: conserve ammunition so that it does not run out or obtain it elsewhere. In all of this, the negotiations in Cairo for a ceasefire and the release of the hostages currently appear practically dead, even if no one says so openly. Hamas, Israel and CIA director William Burns have left the Egyptian capital and for now there appear to be no signs of a resumption of talks. Meanwhile, on the 216th day of the war, the IDF continued to pound not only Rafah but also Beit Hanun, a northern neighborhood of Gaza City, with a small-scale operation against Hamas positions. UNRWA said that so far around 80,000 Palestinians “have fled” from Rafah, the IDF responded that around 150,000 people have been “evacuated”.