Breach Grows Between Biden and Israel’s Leaders Over Rafah Invasion

Israeli leaders declared on Thursday that they would not be deterred by President Biden’s threat to withhold more arms shipments if the military launched a major assault on densely populated areas of Rafah in southern Gaza.

Defiant and at times disdainful of the Biden administration’s stance, their comments made clear the widening rift between Israel and the United States over the war and the prospect of a full-scale invasion of Rafah, where about a million Palestinians are sheltering.

And they came as high-level negotiations aimed at reaching a cease-fire and hostage deal were derailed — at least for the moment — amid anger by some of the participants over a military incursion into Rafah by Israeli forces earlier this week.

After that incursion, Mr. Biden said the United States, Israel’s closest ally, would not ship more weapons that could be fired into crowded sections of Rafah. On Thursday, an Israeli military spokesman said his nation had enough munitions on hand to proceed with its plans.

President Biden getting off Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews, Md, after a campaign trip to Wisconsin and Illinois on Wednesday.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Other Israeli leaders said the military would press ahead with its campaign to destroy Hamas, which led the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

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