Israel-Hamas war live updates: Blinken meets with Israeli leaders
Sunday in a camp in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, near the border with…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu renewed his pledge on Tuesday to launch a ground invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, a move that undermines efforts to negotiate a ceasefire after seven months of war in the Palestinian enclave. there is a possibility.

The United States, Qatar, and several other countries are pushing for a ceasefire agreement, with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken visiting the region and raising concerns that Hamas and Israel may be inching closer to a deal. Expectations are rising.

But with Hamas insisting that any deal must include an end to the war and Israel’s right-wing politicians threatening to quit the coalition if the long-planned invasion of Rafah is delayed, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that it would reserve the agreement. The right to keep fighting.

“The idea of ​​stopping the war before all of its goals have been achieved is out of the question,” he said in a meeting with families of hostages held in Gaza. According to the statement From his office. “We will enter Rafah and eliminate the Hamas battalions that are there to achieve complete victory, with or without an agreement.”

Israeli officials have repeatedly said they plan to advance into Rafah, but said last weekend that they would postpone it if they could secure the release of hostages taken during Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel. He made it clear that he was prepared to do so. Israel has suggested it is using the threat of impending military exercises to coerce militants into a hostage deal.

Anticipating the attack, some families in Rafah have already moved north into the Gaza Strip, which has come under attack by Israeli forces, but the scale of the evacuation remained unclear on Tuesday. As of last week, there were more than 1 million Gazans, many of whom had previously been evacuated from other parts of the territory due to Israeli shelling, still sheltering in makeshift tents in the city.

American officials and other allies are pressuring Israel to come up with a concrete plan to either avoid an attack on Rafah or adequately minimize civilian casualties.

Blinken met with Jordanian officials on Tuesday to discuss the war between Israel and Hamas and called for peace and increased humanitarian aid. There was no immediate response from the State Department to Netanyahu’s remarks.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke with Netanyahu on Tuesday, his office said in a statement. The newspaper said British leaders “continue to call for an immediate humanitarian suspension to allow further aid to be accepted and the hostages to escape” and said Britain’s focus was on de-escalating tensions.

Ceasefire negotiations have been stalled for several weeks. But Israeli officials said negotiators had reduced the number of hostages they wanted Hamas to release in the first phase of the ceasefire, raising the possibility that stalled talks could resume.

A senior Hamas official said on social media on Monday that the organization was considering a new Israeli offer.

A Hamas delegation met with Egyptian intelligence officials on Monday, a senior Hamas official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive discussions between Hamas and Egypt.

Adam Rathgon Contributed to the report.

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