Netanyahu says ceasefire deal in the works but would only ‘somewhat’ delay Rafah offensive

There is nothing Netanyahu wont do to kill Palestinians but hopefully a break or ceasefire will allow some more innocents to leave Gaza – Mark

Tel Aviv: An Israeli military offensive in the southernmost city of Rafah could be “delayed somewhat” if a deal for a weeks-long ceasefire between Israel and Hamas is reached, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, but claimed that total victory in Gaza is “weeks away” once the offensive begins.
Netanyahu confirmed to CBS that a deal is in the works, with no details. Israeli media reported that mediators were making progress on an agreement for a ceasefire and the release of dozens of hostages held in Gaza, as well as Palestinians, imprisoned by Israel. Several Israeli media outlets, citing unnamed officials, said the war cabinet tacitly approved it.
Talks resumed on Sunday in Qatar at the specialist level, Egypt’s state-run Al Qahera TV reported, citing an Egyptian official as saying further discussions would follow in Cairo with the aim of achieving the ceasefire and release.
Meanwhile, Israel is developing plans for expanding its offensive against the Hamas militant group to Rafah on the Gaza-Egypt border, where more than half the besieged territory’s population of 2.3 million have sought refuge. Humanitarian groups warn of a catastrophe, with Rafah the main entry point for aid, and the US and other allies have said Israel must avoid harming civilians.
Netanyahu has said he’ll convene the Cabinet this week to approve operational plans for action in Rafah, including the evacuation of civilians.
“Once we begin the Rafah operation, the intense phase of the fighting is weeks away from completion. Not months,” Netanyahu told CBS. “If we don’t have a deal, we’ll do it anyway. It has to be done because total victory is our goal and total victory is within reach.”
He said that four of the six remaining Hamas battalions are concentrated in Rafah.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told NBC that President Joe Biden hadn’t been briefed on the Rafah plan and said, “We believe that this operation should not go forward until or unless we see (a plan to protect civilians).”

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https://www.theage.com.au/world/middle-east/netanyahu-says-ceasefire-deal-in-the-works-but-would-only-somewhat-delay-rafah-offensive-20240226-p5f7pl.html

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