Gaza Braces for Assault as Israel Outlines Rafah Evacuation Plan

Overnight Israeli air strikes in Gaza’s Rafah have resulted in the deaths of 17 individuals, intensifying the crisis for over a million Palestinians sheltered in the border city. This comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directs the military to formulate an evacuation strategy for Rafah’s populace in preparation for a targeted operation against Hamas battalions. The ongoing war, now in its fourth month, has left Gaza largely in ruins, with no safe haven remaining for its inhabitants​​.

The situation marks a departure from earlier Israeli city assaults during the conflict, where civilians were advised to move south. However, with Gaza’s infrastructure devastated and over 85% of its 2.3 million residents displaced, many have congregated in Rafah, now facing the threat of a full-scale offensive​​.

A woman reacts while people bury bodies of Palestinians killed in an Israeli strike, at the Nasser hospital premises as Palestinians cannot reach the cemetery due to the Israeli ground operation, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, January 22, 2024.

The conflict, which erupted on October 7 following a surprise attack by Hamas, has seen a substantial civilian toll, with approximately 28,000 Palestinians killed, primarily non-combatants. The war has also triggered regional tensions, with exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah, and concerns of broader Middle Eastern involvement​​.

In response to the escalating violence, international bodies have voiced concerns over the humanitarian implications of mass displacement and the breach of international law. The Egyptian government has expressed its unwillingness to accept mass displacement into its territory, highlighting the severe humanitarian implications of further military escalation in Rafah​​.

Israeli officials maintain that the objective of eradicating Hamas cannot be achieved without addressing the units stationed in Rafah. This stance comes amidst failed ceasefire negotiations, with Netanyahu vowing to pursue “total victory.” Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority has condemned the Israeli plans, warning of the grave repercussions for regional and global security​​.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
close button