Israel is under mounting international criticism as it readies itself to attack Rafah, a city in southern Gaza that is home to a large number of Palestinian refugees.
“Over half of Gaza’s population are sheltering in the area,” said British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, while Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot warned of “many civilian casualties.”
There would be “very serious repercussions” for Saudi Arabia if Rafah were to be conquered.
So far as the Gaza-based Hamas officials are concerned, this might lead to “tens of thousands” of deaths.
Israel initiated its operations in the Palestinian enclave following the murder of more than 1,200 people in southern Israel on October 7th, which was carried out by terrorists affiliated with Hamas.
Hamas has seized control of Gaza, and since then, the health ministry there has reported over 27,900 casualties and over 67,000 injuries.
Many Gazans have ended themselves in Rafah after being forced to flee their homes in other areas of the territory at least once.
Just one day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his forces to prepare to evacuate the city in anticipation of an expanded attack against Hamas, warnings were made on Saturday.
The war’s goal cannot be achieved without eliminating Hamas, and it cannot be achieved with four Hamas battalions still stationed in Rafah. Based on the intensive activity, it is clearly necessary for civilians to escape the areas of battle in Rafah, according to Mr. Netanyahu’s administration.
Even Hamas’s most recent ceasefire conditions were rejected by the prime minister.
Before the assault on Gaza, the US had warned Israel that capturing Rafah would be a “disaster.” At the same time, the UN and the EU have both voiced their concerns about the current situation.
Aid groups have determined that the city’s location on the Egyptian border makes it impossible to evacuate all of the residents.
Israeli military operations are affecting the whole Gaza Strip, and around 1.5 million Palestinians are finding refuge in Rafah. Most of them are living in tents.
A military offensive in Rafah was something that Mr. Cameron posted on social media to convey his “deeply concerned” feelings about.
“The priority must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out, then progress towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire.”
Ms. Bruins Slot described the situation in Rafah at the time as “very worrying.”
Quite a few people in Gaza have fled to the south. Massive military actions in such a densely populated area are almost certain to cause more humanitarian crises and civilian losses than any other scenario imaginable. This, she said, was not justified.
Moreover, a statement was released on Saturday by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cautioning against “targeting the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, which is the last resort for hundreds of thousands of civilians forced to flee as a result of the brutal Israeli aggression.”
A “demand for an immediate ceasefire” has been echoed in subsequent remarks by the ministry.