US President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday that Israel should not proceed with a military operation in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip without a plan to ensure people’s safety.
“Biden and Netanyahu discussed by phone efforts to secure the release of all remaining hostages held by Hamas,” the White House said in a statement.
The phone call came as the Israeli military plans to launch a ground offensive in Rafah, home to more than a million residents seeking refuge from the war, to defeat what Tel Aviv calls the remaining “Hamas battalions.”
The planned offensive has raised concerns about a humanitarian disaster in the city.
A White House statement said: “Biden also called for immediate and concrete steps to increase the flow and consistency of humanitarian aid to innocent Palestinian civilians. He reaffirmed his position that the military operation in Rafah should not continue without a credible and workable plan to ensure security and support for more than a million people taking refuge there.”
Biden also affirmed the “shared goal of defeating Hamas” and ensuring the “long-term security of Israel and its people.”
Following a genocide claim brought by the Republic of South Africa, the International Court of Justice ruled on January 26 that Israel must refrain from any actions related to the killing, attacks and destruction of Gazans and take all measures to prevent the genocide.
However, Israeli forces continue to attack the Gaza Strip.
28,176 Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip in 128 days.