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US offers Israel intelligence for refusing to invade Rafah

US offers Israel intelligence for refusing to invade Rafah US President Joe Biden (photo: Getty Images)

The United States, trying to prevent a large-scale Israeli invasion of Rafah, is offering Tel Aviv secret intelligence. In particular, it will help the IDF locate Hamas leaders and find the group's hidden tunnels, according to The Washington Post.

The US has also offered to help provide thousands of shelters so that Israel can build tent cities, as well as help build food, water and medical delivery systems so that Palestinians evacuated from Rafah can have a habitable place to live, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid revealing the secrecy of diplomatic negotiations.

US President Joe Biden and his senior aides have been making similar proposals over the past few weeks, hoping they would persuade Israel to conduct a more limited and targeted operation in the southern Gaza city. Israel has promised to enter Rafah with "extreme force."

Administration officials, including experts from the US Agency for International Development, have told Israel that it will take several months to safely relocate the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians currently living in dilapidated and unsanitary conditions in Rafah. Israeli officials disagree with this assessment.

Biden's aides have been stressing to their Israeli counterparts that Palestinians cannot simply be relocated to barren or shelled parts of Gaza, but that Israel must provide basic infrastructure - including housing, food, water, medicine, and other necessities - to ensure that evacuees have livable conditions and do not simply suffer additional hunger or disease.

According to several people familiar with the discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid discussing private conversations, experts from across the US government are advising their Israeli counterparts in detail on the design and implementation of such a humanitarian plan, down to how many tents and how much water would be needed for specific areas. Aid groups have said that safe evacuation of people from Rafah is virtually impossible given the conditions in the rest of Gaza.

Offensive on Rafah

At the beginning of the week, the IDF launched a ground offensive against the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The Israeli Defense Forces announced that it had taken control of the Rafah crossing on the border between Gaza and Egypt.

The part of the checkpoint on the Gaza side, located 3.5 km from the Egyptian territory, is now fully controlled by Israeli troops.

At the same time, the United States stopped supplying ammunition to the Israeli army and tried to delay the Israeli offensive on Rafah.

Recently, the Israeli military cabinet approved a decision to expand the operation.