The White House on Monday said that US and Israeli officials had a “constructive engagement” regarding Rafah, after a video conference between the sides.

“Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan together with Secretary of State Antony Blinken convened the Strategic Consultative Group (SCG) with Israeli counterparts today by secure video conference,” the White House statement said.

“The Israeli side was chaired by National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi and Minster for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer. Both sides were represented by experts and senior officials from across their respective inter-agencies,” it added.

“The two sides over the course of two hours had a constructive engagement on Rafah. They agreed that they share the objective to see Hamas defeated in Rafah. The US side expressed its concerns with various courses of action in Rafah. The Israeli side agreed to take these concerns into account and to have follow up discussions between experts, overseen by the SCG. The follow up discussions would include in person SCG meeting as early as next week,” the statement concluded.

Monday’s meeting was initially supposed to take place in person last week, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled the meeting after the US did not veto a UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all hostages.

A day later, he sent quiet messages to the White House asking to reschedule, Axios reported on Sunday. After the White House made Netanyahu's request public, he denied such a delegation would be going to the White House.

Senior Israeli officials said holding a virtual meeting is a way for Netanyahu to "save face" and have a discussion with the White House about Rafah without sending a delegation to Washington.

The US administration has repeatedly stressed its opposition to an Israeli operation in Rafah. Blinken, who recently visited Israel, reiterated that position and said, “We share Israel’s goal of defeating Hamas, which is responsible for the worst massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust. And we share the goal of ensuring Israel’s long-term security. As we’ve said, though, a major military ground operation in Rafah is not the way to do it.”

White House spokesperson John Kirby later said, "We believe a major ground offensive [in Rafah] is a mistake" and would be a "disaster".

US Vice President Kamala Harris told ABC News last week that she would not rule out "consequences" if Israel carried out a military operation in Rafah.