Home » Israel is preparing to invade Rafah too, but it is complicated

Israel is preparing to invade Rafah too, but it is complicated

by admin
Israel is preparing to invade Rafah too, but it is complicated

Loading player

The Israeli army has been preparing for days to invade Rafah, the last major city in the Gaza Strip which it has not yet attacked by land as part of the war that has been ongoing for four months now with the Palestinian armed group Hamas. For about two weeks, more than half of the population of the entire Gaza Strip, over a million Palestinian civilians, have taken refuge in Rafah at Israel’s request, after the intensification of Israeli attacks on Khan Yunis, the main city in the south of the Strip . Rafah is even further south, on the border with Egypt: it has already been bombed in recent months, but not yet invaded.

On Friday evening, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a statement that he had ordered the army to prepare a plan to evacuate the civilians who are currently in Rafah, and to “destroy” four Hamas battalions which according to him they would be deployed in the city. The statement gave no further information on how the evacuation should take place: it said only that Israel cannot achieve its goal of dismantling Hamas if those battalions are not eliminated.

Since Israel began the invasion of the Gaza Strip at the end of October, Netanyahu and his government have from time to time ordered the evacuation of civilians from the main cities of the Strip, justifying it with the need to dismantle Hamas military bases and its underground tunnels (according to some estimates it is still very far from achieving this objective). Initially the army had only invaded the north of the Strip, but it gradually moved southwards, and most of the population fled the invaded cities, with disastrous humanitarian consequences.

Escaping from Rafah, however, is even more complicated, because there are no other large cities where you can go. In Rafah the vast majority of civilians are accommodated in tents or on the streets, and the city is essentially a gigantic refugee camp in which humanitarian organizations are unable to guarantee even the most basic services. Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner general of the United Nations Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA), said that “people have no idea where to go” and that among them “there is a growing sense of anxiety and panic.”

See also  Meeting on the construction of a monument to the VRS fighters in Banja Luka | Info

One of Rafah’s large tent cities (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)

According to humanitarian organizations active in the area, invading Rafah could cause many deaths, because it is not certain that people will actually be able to leave. On Friday evening, after Netanyahu’s statement, at least 11 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli bombardment that hit a house in Rafah, according to the Ministry of Health of the Gaza Strip (controlled by Hamas). In the previous days there had been other bombings and other people killed. Since the beginning of the war, the Israeli army has killed at least 28 thousand people in the Gaza Strip, according to estimates by the Ministry of Health.

Fearing that Palestinian civilians will flee from Rafah into its territory, Egypt has strengthened security measures on the border with the Gaza Strip, among other things by sending 40 tanks. In Rafah there is the only border crossing in the Strip that has been opened several times since the beginning of the war, to let people out or to bring in humanitarian aid.

Even the United States, Israel’s closest international ally, has in recent days heavily criticized Israel’s plan to conduct more intense military operations in Rafah: Security Council spokesman John Kirby, for example, said that attacking Rafah now “would be a disaster for those people” and that therefore the United States “would not support it ».

Two days ago Netanyahu had rejected a four and a half month truce in the war proposed by Hamas, which included the release of all the hostages held by the group in the Strip in exchange for the complete withdrawal of the Israeli army. The prime minister had called the proposed conditions “delusional” and claimed that they would have allowed Hamas to regroup for new attacks against Israel, similar to the one that started the war currently underway on October 7.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy