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US Is Offering Israel A Strange Incentive To Hold Off Rafah Offensive

US Is Offering Israel A Strange Incentive To Hold Off Rafah Offensive

Over the weekend The Washington Post has reported a strange incentive and quid pro quo that the US is offering Israel if it agrees to hold off on the Rafah offensive. 

The Biden administration is ready to hand over to Israel “sensitive intelligence” on the whereabouts of top Hamas leaders. The Washington Post cited four unnamed sources as saying the US “is offering Israel valuable assistance if it holds back, including sensitive intelligence to help the Israeli military pinpoint the location of Hamas leaders and find the group’s hidden tunnels.”

The ‘offer’ is bizarre and somewhat unprecedented given one would think that Washington’s aim alongside Israel would be to dismantle a designated terror organization and ultimately bring down its top leadership. 

But instead this is apparently being dangled like a carrot. Washington is holding out hopes that a ceasefire deal can be accomplished with Qatari and Egyptian mediation, but that still appears to be going nowhere. A full-scale Rafah assault is likely to put an end to Hamas-Israel talks, at least for the near future.

According to more of the ‘incentives’ for Israel to abandon its Rafah ground offensive: “American officials have also offered to help provide thousands of shelters so Israel can build tent cities — and to help with the construction of delivery systems for food, water and medicine — so that Palestinians evacuated from Rafah can have a habitable place to live, said the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to disclose secret diplomatic talks,” WaPo writes.

“President Biden and his senior aides have been making such offers over the last several weeks in hopes they will persuade Israel to conduct a more limited and targeted operation in the southern Gaza city,” the report continues.

Separately, public comments made by White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby during a Thursday briefing appeared to confirm the Post’s reporting.

Kirby had said, “We could also, in fact, help them target the leaders, including [Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar, which we are, frankly, doing with the Israelis on an ongoing basis.”

Part of the White House’s plan is to first get the bulk of Rafah civilianswhich have been widely reported to be at over one million Palestinianssafely removed and evacuated before major fighting begins. But the main question echoed by almost all is: where will they go?

“The aid community generally is very skeptical there’s any safe way to relocate people out of Rafah,” Jeremy Konyndyk, president of Refugees International, was quoted in The Washington Post as saying.

It of course remains unknown the degree to which US intelligence actually has more info on Hamas leaders’ whereabouts compared to Israeli intelligence.

Presumably such intel would come through intercepted communications, or perhaps even a human source that had infiltrated Hamas. However, it’s highly doubtful the US has its own intelligence officers on the ground – other than possibly those working alongside IDF forces.


Sun, 05/12/2024 – 14:20

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