May 6, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Biden speaks to Netanyahu as Rafah invasion looms

Smoke in Rafah

Smoke billows after an Israeli bombardment in Rafah on Monday. Photo: -/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone for 30 minutes Monday, discussing hostage deal negotiations and Israel's preparations for a ground invasion of Rafah, U.S. and Israeli officials said.

Why it matters: Biden is seeking to salvage the long-stalled Israel-Hamas hostage deal and avoid a massive Israeli military operation in Rafah, where more than one million Palestinians are taking shelter.

Driving the news: Ahead of a possible ground invasion, Israel on Monday started to evacuate Palestinian civilians from the eastern parts of Rafah close to the Israel border, the Israel Defense Forces said.

  • The decision to begin evacuating Palestinian civilians was taken after talks between the Hamas delegation and Egyptian and Qatari mediators in Cairo ended with no breakthrough.
  • The White House said Netanyahu agreed to reopen the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza, which was shut down on Sunday after a Hamas attack on a nearby IDF outpost killed four soldiers.
  • Kerem Shalom is the main crossing between Israel and Gaza for aid trucks.

This story has been updated with new details from the call.

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