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