Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel-Palestine War: Netanyahu tells Biden “We have to go into Gaza”

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Biden on Sunday that Israel does not have any choice but to unleash a ground operation in Gaza. “We have to go in,” the Israeli leader said, according to three Israeli and U.S. sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Netanyahu’s message signals what his country’s response to Hamas’ attack will look like in the days and weeks ahead in what the Israeli prime minister has said will be a “long and difficult war.”

Driving the news: The Israeli military announced on Monday it has mobilized 300,000 reserve soldiers — the largest number of reservists called to duty in decades — as part of preparations for a possible ground offensive in Gaza.

Behind the scenes: During his call with Netanyahu, Biden raised the issue of Israeli hostages in Gaza, according to the three sources.

  • “We have to go in. We can’t negotiate now,” Netanyahu said.
  • The White House and the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment.
  • Netanyahu told Biden that Israel had no other choice but to respond with force because a country can’t show weakness in the Middle East.
  • “We need to restore deterrence,” Netanyahu told Biden, according to the three sources.
  • Biden did not try to press Netanyahu or convince him not to go through with a ground operation.

Between the lines: According to a U.S. source, Biden is expected to handle the current Gaza war in a similar way to how he handled the 2021 Gaza war. The U.S. gave Israel public backing and held frequent and low-profile diplomatic engagements with Netanyahu and other leaders in the region.

Credit: as copied, Axios

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