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Business News/ News / World/  Harris Won’t Rule Out US Consequences If Israel Invades Rafah
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Harris Won’t Rule Out US Consequences If Israel Invades Rafah

Vice President Kamala Harris declined to rule out consequences for Israel if it invades the crowded southern Gaza city of Rafah, a step the US has repeatedly warned against.

Harris Won’t Rule Out US Consequences If Israel Invades RafahPremium
Harris Won’t Rule Out US Consequences If Israel Invades Rafah

(Bloomberg) -- Vice President Kamala Harris declined to rule out consequences for Israel if it invades the crowded southern Gaza city of Rafah, a step the US has repeatedly warned against.

While broadly in line with the Biden administration’s repeated cautions to Israel, Harris’ brief comment broadcast Sunday went beyond remarks by Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his latest trip to the region last week.

“I am ruling out nothing," she said on ABC’s This Week when asked whether there would be consequences for a military assault on Rafah, which borders Egypt. “We have been clear in multiple conversations and in every way that any major military operation in Rafah would be a huge mistake."

President Joe Biden and his administration have been stepping up calls for Israeli restraint and access to humanitarian aid for Gaza residents facing famine as criticism of Israel’s battlefield conduct among some Democratic lawmakers and voters has escalated. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly spurned US warnings on Rafah, where more than 1 million people have sought shelter from fighting in the rest of Gaza. 

He says military action is needed to destroy Hamas, which attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking about another 240 hostage. Israel responded with an invasion and bombardment of Gaza that has killed more than 30,000 people, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. The US and the European Union consider Hamas a terrorist group.

Blinken said Friday that US officials will provide details about alternatives to its plan for a major ground operation in Gaza when an Israeli delegation visits Washington this week.

Read more: Blinken Persists in ‘Groundhog Day’ Travels Seeking Gaza Results

“A major military ground operation in Rafah is not the way to do it," Blinken said in Tel Aviv. “It risks killing more civilians, it risks wreaking greater havoc with the provision of humanitarian assistance, it risks further isolating Israel around the world and jeopardizing its long-term security and standing."

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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Published: 25 Mar 2024, 01:42 AM IST
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