Sun 25 Feb 2024 5:28 pm - Jerusalem Time

Sullivan: We believe that the Rafah operation should not move forward without a plan to protect civilians

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Sunday in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press" that "President (US Joe) Biden has not been briefed on Israel's plan for military operations in Rafah, but he believes that civilian lives must be protected." .

Sullivan said, "We believe that the Rafah operation should not proceed without a plan to protect civilians."

He added, "We do not believe that a major military operation should continue in Rafah unless there is a clear and implementable plan to protect these civilians, bring them to safety, feed them, clothe them, and shelter them."

Regarding the ongoing negotiations, the US National Security Advisor said: “Israel, Egypt, Qatar, and America are continuing to work to reach an understanding on the basic features of the prisoner and detainee exchange deal with Hamas.”

Sullivan added, "The deal is still under negotiation and there must be indirect discussions for Qatar and Egypt with Hamas."

Also in another press interview on Sunday, the US National Security Advisor told Fox News, “I will speak with my Israeli counterparts today about their intentions regarding Rafah,” and stressed that Washington’s position is that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s security.

Meanwhile, American media reported on Sunday that Qatar will host new talks between Hamas and Israel this week with the aim of reaching a truce agreement.

The sources stated that it was agreed to hold another meeting in Qatar within the next two days in the presence of representatives from all parties, including Hamas and Israel, in order to complete the final agreement.

The sources added that another meeting will be held in Cairo at a later time, which will likely be to agree on the dates and mechanism for implementing the agreement, specifically with regard to the hostages.

After weeks of stalemate, Paris witnessed a meeting that brought together the director of the CIA, William Burns, with the head of Egyptian intelligence, Abbas Kamel, the Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and the head of the Mossad, David Barnea, to discuss the possibility of reaching an agreement.

Following the meeting in Paris, Egyptian officials told the Wall Street Journal (without revealing their identity) that American and Arab officials are intensifying their efforts to narrow the gaps between Israel and Hamas in an agreement to stop the fighting in Gaza and release the Israeli hostages.

The officials told the newspaper that the main challenge facing the mediators is to reach an agreement that convinces Hamas that a permanent ceasefire is ultimately possible at the end of the humanitarian truce, while allowing Israel to avoid any such commitment.

In parallel, Israeli media reported, on Sunday, that mediators were making progress in reaching a week-long ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas and the release of dozens of hostages held in Gaza and Palestinians imprisoned in Israel, according to what was reported by the Associated Press.


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Sullivan: We believe that the Rafah operation should not move forward without a plan to protect civilians