Israel Pushes Forward into Rafah as Protests Rise

As protests escalate around the world, Israel is vowing to wipe out Hamas.

What’s happening: From the U.S. to Europe to even within Israel, protesters are urging a ceasefire deal and the return of hostages, which they believe would be jeopardized by a final military push into Gaza.

  • Catch up: Hamas approved a three-phased ceasefire deal that would include the release of dozens of Israeli hostages, but Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu claimed the deal was “very far from Israel’s vital demands” and was intended to prevent Israel’s military forces from entering Rafah, which it did not.

In Israel, thousands of demonstrators across the country have been demanding a ceasefire agreement to return the rest of the hostages who have been held by Hamas for seven months. Protesters in Jerusalem marched towards Netanyahu’s residence with a banner reading, “The blood is on your hands.”

In Europe, encampments at universities around the continent, including in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Vienna, are popping up as they did in the U.S.

Harsh words: President Biden has strongly condemned the antisemitism seen at university protests, as have Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle.

  • Playing both sides: “My commitment to the safety of the Jewish people, the security of Israel, and its right to exist as an independent Jewish state is ironclad, even when we disagree.”

  • However, pressure from the anti-Israel faction of the Democratic Party has caused the president to hold up a weapons shipment for the Israelis - a political message to Netanyahu to halt his Rafah invasion.

Why it matters: Israel remains fully committed to its operation in Rafah, with or without a hostage deal. But as the war drags on, Israeli allies have begun to waver in their support as pressure builds to end the war, return the hostages, and rebuild Gaza.

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