Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz
President Joe Biden confers with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan during a phone call, August 25, 2022.

According to a White House statement following President Joe Biden’s phone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday (Bibi and Biden Speak, First Time in a Month), “The President and Prime Minster agreed to have their teams meet soon in Washington to exchange views and discuss alternative approaches that would target key elements of Hamas and secure the Egypt-Gaza border without a major ground operation in Rafah.”

According to the same statement, “The President affirmed the need to defeat Hamas in Gaza while also protecting the civilian population and facilitating the safe and unhindered delivery of assistance throughout Gaza.”


Netanyahu’s version of the same phone conversation was a tad different: “We discussed the latest developments in the war, including Israel’s commitment to achieving all of the war’s goals: eliminating Hamas, freeing all of our hostages, and ensuring that Gaza never gain constitutes a threat to Israel – while providing the necessary humanitarian aid that will assist in achieving these goals.”

Nothing there about skipping Rafah on the way to eliminating Hamas, a goal on which both leaders agree.


Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre clarified on Monday: “The President doesn’t want to see a military operation go into Rafah. He’s been very clear about that. He wants to make sure that innocent lives are protected.”

On Sunday, Netanyahu told his cabinet (Netanyahu: If We Stop the War We Lose the War), “Let it be clear, if we stop the war now, before all of its goals are achieved, this means that Israel will have lost the war, and this we will not allow. Therefore, we cannot, and will not, succumb to this pressure.”

Jean-Pierre shot the PM’s argument down on Monday: “The President has rejected – and did again today – the strawman that raising questions about Rafah is the same as raising questions about defeating Hamas. That’s just nonsense.”

She explained: “Our position is that Hamas should not be allowed a safe haven in Rafah or anywhere else. But a major ground operation there would be a mistake. It would lead to more innocent civilian deaths, worsen the already dire humanitarian crisis, deepen the anarchy in Gaza, and further isolate Israel internationally.”

So, pray tell, what to do, what to do?

According to the administration, “the key goals Israel wants to achieve in Rafah can be done by other means.”


And National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan explained: “From the US perspective, this is not a question of defeating Hamas. And anytime I hear an argument that says, ‘If you don’t smash into Rafah, you can’t defeat Hamas,’ I say, ‘That is a strawman.’ Our view is that there are ways for Israel to prevail in this conflict, to secure its long-term future, to end the terror threat from Gaza, and not smash into Rafah. That’s what we’re going to present in this integrated way when this team comes.”

Politico cracked Biden’s mysterious code last week (The US privately told Israel the kind of Rafah campaign it could support): “In private conversations, top administration officials have signaled to Israel that they could support a plan more akin to counterterrorism operations than all-out war, four US officials said. That, the administration officials argue, would minimize civilian casualties, decimate Hamas’s ranks and avoid scenes that have led to souring public opinion on Israel’s campaign and Biden’s handling of the war.”

In other words, Israel should not treat Rafah as if it were Berlin in 1945, but as if it is Jenin a few weeks ago. There will always be Hamas terrorists in Rafah, but the damage they will be able to inflict will be limited.

This may be the administration’s best plan yet to get Israelis to vote Netanyahu out of office. If his declarations over the past five months about complete and total victory dwindle down to, you know, we’ll go in there in small groups whenever necessary, we could get Benny Gantz to do the job, and throw in a Palestinian State while he’s at it.

But you know, overnight Monday, the IDF and Shin Bet acted at Shifa Hospital exactly as if they were operating in Jenin (At Least 80 Arrested in IDF Storming of Shifa Hospital as Hamas Attempts to Reestablish Control). They received intelligence about Hamas retaking the hospital where its headquarters used to be underground, stormed the place, killed a few, arrested many, and stormed out. So while Netanyahu is describing Berlin 1945, his boots on the ground are too few to establish his envisioned total and permanent victory.


Ophir Falk, a research fellow at the International Institute of Counter-Terrorism (ICT) in Herzliya, wrote in the Wall Street Journal last Thursday (Israel Will Defeat Hamas in Rafah):

“Hamas has four terror brigades in Rafah. That city is Hamas’s last stronghold, and its defeat is a prerequisite for victory. Whoever pressures Israel to refrain from entering Rafah is preventing the destruction of Hamas and the freeing of Israel and Gazan civilians from Hamas’s stranglehold. Gen. David Petraeus, who led the 2007 American surge in Iraq, said last week that the ‘key now is to not stop until Hamas is fully destroyed.’
“Asking Israel to stop the war now is akin to telling the Allies to stop halfway to Berlin in World War II. If Hamas isn’t eradicated, genocidal terrorists will continue to emerge.”

And that is the White House’s plan for Israel: maintain a resilient Hamas presence in Rafah but go in for some police action every time they push their boundaries.

How anyone can imagine that allowing Hamas to remain alive in Rafah would keep the Nazi group from metastasizing across the Gaza Strip is beyond me. Also, according to the administration, once Israeli soldiers are done bleeding in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority should be invited to take over.

On June 10, 2007, Hamas gunmen threw Muhamad Swirky, an officer of the Palestinian Presidential Guard, from the roof of the tallest tower in Gaza at the time – 15 stories high. Other PA officials followed this downtrend.

During the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, thousands of light weapons and eight armored combat vehicles, which were supplied to the Palestinian Authority by the United States, Egypt, and Jordan, were transferred to the terrorist organization’s control. Hamas acquired more than 15,000 weapons that were used by the PA security forces.

These are Jake Sullivan’s “strawmen.” Through Sullivan, the Biden administration has thus become yet another Hamas supporter. All Israel has left to do is wait for Karma to do a job on Biden et al.

Or, in Jewish terms: “And upon what is there for us to rely? Only upon our Father in heaven.” (Sotah 49b)


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