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Israel asks U.S. to reschedule scrapped meeting on Rafah military plans


Israel has asked the White House to reschedule a high-level meeting on military plans for Gaza's southern city, Rafah, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had abruptly canceled, officials said on Wednesday, in an apparent bid to ease tensions between the two allies.

Netanyahu called off a planned visit to Washington by a senior Israeli delegation after the U.S. allowed passage of a Gaza ceasefire resolution at the United Nations on Monday, marking a new war-time low in his relations with President Joe Biden.

The suspension of this week's meeting has put a new obstacle in the way of efforts by the U.S., concerned about a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, to get Netanyahu to consider alternatives to a ground invasion of Rafah, the last relatively safe haven for Palestinian civilians.

On Wednesday, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters, "The prime minister's office has agreed to reschedule the meeting dedicated" to Rafah.

"So we're now working with them to set (a) convenient date," she added.

An Israeli official in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that a new meeting was being arranged and said Netanyahu was considering sending his delegation as early as next week.

There was no immediate comment from Netanyahu's office.

(Cover: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a press conference with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel, October 28, 2023. /CFP)

Source(s): Reuters
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