The latest US statements coming from the White House appear to be contradictory. “Israel’s response in Gaza to the Hamas incursion was excessive,” President Joe Biden said
And again the US National Security Council defined the Biden administration’s approach to the war in the Gaza Strip as incorrect and affirmed the need for measures to create a Palestinian state.
The US president has repeatedly called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a monster in private conversations, NBC News reports, citing sources. Previously, the Washington Post, citing sources, wrote that the Biden Administration no longer sees Netanyahu as a productive partner who can also be influenced privately, and is close to breaking with him.
Making relations worse is Israel’s intention to expand the ground operation in the Gaza Strip to the city of Rafah, NBC reported, citing a source. According to NBC, Washington believes that Israel is not yet ready to carry out the operation in a way that would avoid the loss of more than a million civilians who, due to the fighting, have fled their homes and taken refuge in Rafah.
A US intelligence report also states that Israel cannot destroy Hamas. Most Israeli operations in Gaza have failed, the New York Times reports.
During Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s visit to Israel, the Dutch government said it would appeal the court’s decision to stop supplying Israel with parts for F-35 fighter jets.
British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said: “We are very concerned about the possibility of a military operation in Rafah.”
Egypt massed tanks at the Rafah border over the weekend and is threatening to suspend the Camp David accords with Israel if Israeli troops are sent to the Gaza Strip city of Rafah, the AP reports, citing Egyptian officials.
Previously, the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported that Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had said that the next target of Israeli soldiers will be the city of Rafah, on the border between Gaza and Egypt. Until now, the army has avoided using ground troops in Rafah to avoid “angrying” the Egyptian authorities.
According to the social sphere, there are currently 40 tanks and armored vehicles in the north-east of Sinai. Egypt has begun building barricades on the border with the Gaza Strip, Al Jazeera reports. On February 12, Egyptian S-75 air defense systems are deployed east towards the Gaza Strip.
On February 11, retired Israeli general Yitzhak Barek said that Israel today faces a big problem with Egypt and that a decision by Cairo will make it a country hostile to Tel Aviv.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry opposes Israel’s intention to enter Rafah: “We warn of the dangerous consequences of an invasion and attack on Rafah, the last refuge for hundreds of thousands of civilians forced to flee after the brutal Israeli aggression. We strongly condemn their deportation and call for the immediate resumption of the ceasefire. The UN Security Council must be urgently convened to prevent Israel from creating a humanitarian catastrophe.”
Threats also from Damascus against Tel Aviv. “Syria has fought several wars in Israel and is ready for new wars,” Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad said. “Syria will decide when and where,” Miqdad said during a news conference in Damascus with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian. The head of the Syrian Foreign Ministry added that the occupation of part of the country’s territory by Israel, the United States and Turkey is illegal, stressing that Syria is “ready to liberate its lands.”
The Syrian leadership said: We are ready to start a war against Tel Aviv, but we decide “when and how”. The liberation of the Golan is one of our priorities.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “the right things” are happening in the Gaza Strip, but he failed to give weight to US leader Joe Biden’s comments about overreacting to the Hamas attack.
“I appreciate President Biden’s support for Israel since the beginning of the war. I don’t know what he meant exactly,” Netanyahu said in an interview with ABC News. Netanyahu said Israel’s response was consistent with the threat level, with Palestinian civilians warned in various ways and urged to leave their homes through safe corridors. “I think we are doing the right thing and we will win, victory is within reach,” the Prime Minister said.
According to Sky News Arabia, quoting Israeli channel 13: Netanyahu called for a new mobilization of reserve soldiers to prepare for the military invasion of Rafah.
Over the weekend I recorded air strikes against Yemen in Hodeidah and the Zada region. The Pentagon said it attacked two unmanned ships and five Houthi-owned missiles yesterday that were poised to be fired at military and commercial vessels at sea off Yemen
From the Supreme Political Council of the Ansar Allah movement, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi commanded: “We tell Israel that any escalation in Rafah or in the Gaza Strip, our path is an escalation.” On February 12, the British Maritime Trade Center reported that the ship was hit by two missiles in the Bab al-Mandab Strait. There were no injuries, the ship continues to sail. The attacked ship belongs to Greece and was transporting corn from Brazil to Iran.
According to the spokesperson of the Yemeni armed forces, Yahya Saree instead: “We targeted the American ship “Star Iris” in the Red Sea with a series of naval missiles.”
Iran-backed militias in Iraq announced last night a full resumption of attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria. About a week ago, the militia called Kata’ib Hezbollah (Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades) announced the cessation of attacks, but after the United States killed senior official Abu Bakr al-Saadi in Baghdad last week they are attacking again.
According to Turkish sources, the son of the head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, has died following the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip. On February 10, in a joint announcement from the IDF and ISA they reported: “This morning, following intelligence from the IDF and ISA, aircraft struck and eliminated Ahmed Eliakubi, a senior Hamas operative in the Rafah area. Eliakubi was responsible for security arrangements for senior Hamas leaders and served as a senior commander in the Rafah district. During the attack, Iman Rantisi, a senior Hamas military agent, was eliminated, and another agent was killed.”
Clashes with Hezbollah continued over the weekend on the border with southern Lebanon. Hezbollah successfully took control of an Israeli army UAV. The IDF reported the deaths of two soldiers with the rank of sergeants of the Maglan special forces in Gaza.
The bombing of Khan Yunis by the Israeli army continued on February 12th. The IDF conducted a series of attacks against terrorist targets in the Shaboura area in the southern Gaza Strip. The strikes are over. The ground operation is in an advanced state. On Saturday, the Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi, and the head of the ISA, Ronen Bar, entered Khan Yunis together with the commander of the Southern Command and the forces of the 98th Division and conducted an assessment of the situation in the area.
The Israel Defense Forces reported that they conducted a rescue operation in the center of Rafah, located in the southern Gaza Strip, to free two Israeli-Argentine hostages: Luis Jara, 70, and Fernando Simon Marmann, 60. . These hostages were kidnapped by Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak militants.
According to an Israeli command report, IDF soldiers secretly headed towards the residential building where the hostages were being held. They then broke through one of the walls and engaged in a firefight with the Palestinian militants. Once the hostages were released, the Israelis retreated from the scene accompanied by armored vehicles.
Palestinian media provided minimal coverage of this incident, in stark contrast to the extensive bombing of the city that followed immediately after the operation. Videos have been shared online showing significant destruction of residential buildings and mosques in central areas of the city.
At the same time, last night was one of the most challenging for Rafah residents since the escalation began. According to Hamas, more than 100 people were killed in the city and around 200 others suffered injuries of varying severity. The group has already appealed to the League of Arab States and the UN Security Council, urging them to act immediately.
The IDF also fired at Rafah refugee camps on February 12. The Islamic Jihad Movement reported that: “The enemy’s insistence on continuing his crimes, particularly by committing a terrible massacre in the city of Rafah last night, is a continuation of the systematic war of extermination against the Palestinian people.”
“We warn the entire world, especially the Arab countries, that the Israeli attack on Rafah aims to displace our people from their homeland and liquidate the Palestinian cause, which threatens Arab and Islamic national security.”
Antonio Albanese e Graziella Giangiulio