Israel at War

US, Israeli officials meet over contentious plan to invade Rafah

The U.S. continues to advocate against an invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza, where Israel says defeating Hamas would require going into the city.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meets with U.S. officials at the Pentagon.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meets with U.S. officials at the Pentagon.
Jacquelyn Martin / AP
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U.S. and Israeli defense officials are meeting at the Pentagon on Tuesday for tense talks over how Israel is responding to Hamas in Gaza.

The U.S. continues to advocate against an Israeli ground invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza, where Israel says defeating Hamas would require going into the city. International concerns are growing over humanitarian conditions in the region, and U.S. officials say they are still concerned that fighting could endanger civilians.

“There are ways to go about addressing the threat of Hamas, while also taking into account civilian safety. A lot of those are from lessons, our own lessons, conducting operations in urban environments,” said Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said before the Tuesday meeting officials would discuss alternate options to fighting Hamas in Rafah, reducing civilian casualties and increasing aid deliveries.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel would discuss ways to defeat Hamas and return the remaining hostages held in Gaza.

Gallant said Israel and the U.S. would highlight cooperation to "ensure Israel's military edge and capabilities."

Netanyahu cancels diplomats' visit to US over UN cease-fire vote
Netanyahu cancels diplomats' visit to US over UN cease-fire vote

Netanyahu cancels diplomats' visit to US over UN cease-fire vote

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said the response by Israel to the U.N. resolution was surprising.

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The meeting comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a planned delegation to the U.S. in response to a U.N. Security Council vote that called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza during Ramadan. The U.S. abstained from the vote rather than directly vetoing the resolution.

Local health officials say more than 32,000 Palestinians have died in Gaza since Israel launched its offensive, which was in response to terrorist attacks by Hamas in Israel on Oct. 7, 2023 that killed more than 1,200.

Hamas still holds around 100 hostages taken during the attacks and the remains of 30 more who have died in captivity.