HomeGlobal Defence UpdatesUS Vice President Kamala Harris warns Israel of "consequences" of Rafah assault

US Vice President Kamala Harris warns Israel of “consequences” of Rafah assault

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US Vice President Kamala Harris has warned Israel of “consequences” if it launches a ground assault on the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, Al Jazeera reported on Monday.

In an interview that aired on Sunday, VP Harris said that it would be a “huge mistake” for the Israeli military to move into Rafah city.

The comments appear to underscore the continued strain in relations between Washington and Tel Aviv over the continuation of the Israel-Hamas war since last October.

The United States and other Israeli allies continue to warn against the assault on Rafah, where over 1 million Palestinian civilians are sheltering.

“We have been clear in multiple conversations and in every way that any major military operation in Rafah would be a huge mistake,” Harris told ABC’s This Week.

“I have studied the maps – there’s nowhere for those folks to go. And we’re looking at about a million and a half people in Rafah who are there because they were told to go there,” Harris added.”I am ruling out nothing,” Harris said when she was asked whether there would be consequences from the US if the Israeli operation in the overcrowded city goes ahead.She did not give details of what such consequences might entail. “We’re going to take it one step at a time, but we’ve been very clear in terms of our perspective on whether or not that should happen,” she said, Al Jazeera reported.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said on Thursday that a major ground assault on the town of Rafah would be “a mistake” and “unnecessary”.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Palestinian territory since Hamas attacked it on October 7, killing about 1,200 Israeli citizens and taking over 200 people captive.

The Israeli military has also imposed a crippling blockade, which has left much of the Gaza population on the verge of starvation.

Al Jazeera reported that more than 32,200 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli offensive and over 74,500 injured. Approximately 1.5 million Palestinians have now been pushed into Rafah.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Blinken’s comments by insisting that Israel is working on ways to evacuate civilians from combat zones and to address the humanitarian needs of Gaza.

“I also said that we have no way to defeat Hamas without entering Rafah,” Netanyahu added. “I told him that I hope we would do this with US support but if necessary, we will do it alone.”

Resistance to US support for Israel’s military operations in Gaza continues to grow. On Friday, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on the US to suspend weapons transfers to Israel, Al Jazeera reported.

The US is Israel’s top weapons supplier. Washington provides at least USD 3.8 billion in aid to Israel annually, and Biden is working with Congress to secure another USD 14 billion.

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