'There Is a Date': Netanyahu Says Rafah Invasion 'Will Happen'

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Getty Images)
April 8, 2024

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday announced the Israel Defense Forces will follow through with its planned invasion of Gaza’s Rafah and that the date of the operation has been chosen. 

"We are constantly working to achieve our goals, first and foremost, the release of all our hostages and achieving a complete victory over Hamas," Netanyahu said in a video released on Monday. "This victory requires entry into Rafah and the elimination of the terrorist battalions there. It will happen—there is a date."

Netanyahu on March 15 approved the IDF’s plan to attack Rafah, the Gaza Strip’s southernmost city and home to about half of the region’s 2.3 million residents, even though President Joe Biden had warned just days earlier that launching such an invasion would cross a "red line."

The Israeli prime minister reaffirmed his intention to enter Rafah during a meeting a week later with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

"I also said that we have no way to defeat Hamas without going into Rafah and eliminating the rest of the battalions there," Netanyahu said after the meeting. "And I told [Blinken] that I hope we will do it with the support of the U.S., but if we have to—we will do it alone."