President Joe Biden on Saturday warned Israel against invading Hamas’ remaining stronghold in Gaza, but experts say this would only ensure the terrorist group’s survival and recovery.

Biden told MSNBC during an interview that Israel would be crossing a “red line” if its counteroffensive extends into Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza bordering Egypt and a refuge for Hamas.


Biden’s opposition to a Rafah ground assault would hinder Israel’s military options, allowing Hamas to bolster its defenses and embolden foreign adversaries around the world, foreign policy and defense experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Biden’s redline is misguided. He is in the process of abandoning Israel as he kowtows to the extreme Left, which seeks to protect Hamas terrorists who kill Israelis,” Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“It’s an inconsistent view to claim that you want security and peace for both Israel and Palestinians, while pushing for a policy that guarantees Hamas’ survival,” Gabriel Noronha, executive director of Polaris National Security and former State Department official, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Biden is kneecapping Israel and determining how they should fight a war that they did not start and did not want.”

Biden does not want Israel to go into Rafah because it would threaten civilians and disrupt the region, potentially forcing Palestinians to flee into Egypt or elsewhere. He also claimed Saturday that 30,000 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war, appearing to reference casualty figures from the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, which routinely provides false information.

“The President of the United States is citing casualty figures from Hamas—a U.S.-designated terror organization. That is inexcusable,” Shoshana Bryen, senior director of The Jewish Policy Center, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Biden’s comments on Monday and said Israel is going to push into Rafah regardless of outside opinions, telling Axel Springer, Politico’s parent company, that he has his own “red line”—ensuring events like the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel do not happen again.

The comments come during a time that there is a growing rift between the Biden administration and the Israeli government. The Biden administration is studying options on the creation of an independent Palestinian state and demanding Israel scale back its counteroffensive measures, which the Israeli government and Netanyahu have signaled is not possible. Netanyahu is also not acting solely on his own accord, but rather is part of a unity wartime cabinet comprised of both political allies and rivals.

Biden told MSNBC that Netanyahu is “hurting” Israel with his policies. “Biden tries to pretend that there’s Netanyahu, and then there’s Israel, and that they’re two separate entities that are at odds with each other. The reality is, Netanyahu is doing what the vast, vast majority of Israelis are demanding that the Israeli government do,” Noronha told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Roughly 75% of Jewish Israelis support a ground assault in Rafah, according to a poll from The Israel Democracy Institute published on Sunday. Roughly two-thirds of Israelis disagree with the Biden administration’s insistence on a scaled-back counteroffensive, in a separate poll from January.

Much of Hamas is cornered in Rafah and Israel has an opportunity to deliver a fatal blow. If Israel does not launch an assault in Rafah, Hamas could recover and continue to present a lethal threat to regional stability, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Israel has no choice but to go into Rafah, where four Hamas battalions and the Gaza-Egypt tunnels that resupply Hamas with weapons are still standing,” Dubowitz told the DCNF. “If not, Hamas will emerge victorious and Israel will be vulnerable to more Oct. 7’s as Hamas has threatened.”

“Rafah is Hamas’ last organized military and governing stronghold and it abuts the porous Egyptian border over which Hamas has been smuggling arms and equipment,” Bryen told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Without Israeli security control of Rafah and the border, Hamas can escape or rebuild.”

Dubowitz noted that if Israel does not go into Rafah and Hamas can regain its strength, it will signal to foreign adversaries and terror networks they can act aggressively without fear of consequence, specifically pointing to Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism and the mastermind behind over a dozen terror networks throughout the Middle East.

“[It will] embolden Iran-backed Hezbollah to escalate against Israel on the country’s northern border and Iran’s other terror proxies in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen to threaten U.S. troops and international shipping,” Dubowitz told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Of most concern, it will send a message to Iran’s supreme leader that he can advance his nuclear weapons program without a response from a weak president who is focused on beating up America’s allies and appeasing America’s enemies.”

Netanyahu told Springer on Monday that the Rafah invasion would be launched soon and hinted the counteroffensive could be wrapped within a month.

“We’ve destroyed three-quarters of Hamas’ fighting terrorism battalions. And we’re close to finishing the last part in warfare,” Netanyahu said. “[Fighting will not] take more than two months … Maybe six weeks, maybe four.”

The Israeli government is preparing to present a plan for the invasion and efforts to protect civilians in the region, in a bid to quell U.S. and international humanitarian concerns. The State Department said on Monday that the Biden administration will look at Israel’s plan when it’s ready and likely give an opinion of it.

Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

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