Israel will fight with its ‘fingernails’: Netanyahu defies Biden ultimatum

NEW DELHI: In a bold declaration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has affirmed that Israel will persist with its military operations against Hamas in Gaza, regardless of objections from international allies, including the United States. This statement comes in the wake of a warning from US President Joe Biden regarding potential repercussions if Israel launched a significant offensive in the Gazan city of Rafah.
Netanyahu’s commitment to continue the offensive underscores a potential rift with one of Israel’s key allies at a time when the situation in Gaza is increasingly dire.Rafah, the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip and the last major population center not under Israeli control, has become a refuge for hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Palestinians. Reports indicate that the ongoing military actions have severely disrupted humanitarian efforts, complicating the delivery of essential food and medicine to the overburdened city, now hosting a population far exceeding its usual numbers.
The tension escalated further after Biden explicitly stated in an interview with CNN, “If they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities – that deal with that problem.” He highlighted that while Israel had avoided entering population centers with its military operations, the US would continue to support Israel’s defense capabilities, particularly regarding the Iron Dome and responses to attacks from the Middle East.
Despite this, Netanyahu remains resolute, drawing a parallel to Israel’s historical challenges during its 1948 fight for independence amidst an arms embargo. “If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone. If we need to, we will fight with our fingernails. But we have much more than fingernails,” Netanyahu asserted, emphasizing Israel’s determination to defend its actions regardless of international pressures.
Further complicating matters, US defense secretary Lloyd Austin informed Congress that the US had already paused arms shipments to Israel last week, a move not made public until revealed by the Financial Times. The hold includes significant munitions such as thousands of 2,000-pound and 500-pound bombs, marking a significant shift in US policy since the conflict began last October.


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