Tue. May 28th, 2024

Palestinians told to evacuate parts of Rafah as Israel prepares for a ground invasion

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May16,2024
Key Points
  • The Israel Defence Forces told Palestinians to begin evacuating eastern Rafah ahead of an anticipated assault.
  • Israel rejected Hamas’ demands for a ceasefire, as Benjamin Netanyahu resists international pressure to end the war.
  • Western powers and neighbouring Egypt are worried about the prospect of a high-casualty operation.
The Israeli army has told Palestinians to begin evacuating eastern Rafah, according to an Israel Defence Forces statement, signalling that a ground invasion is imminent.
People were told to move to Muwasi, an Israeli-declared humanitarian area near the coast. The army said it had expanded assistance into the area, including field hospitals, tents, food and water.

In what appeared to be the beginning of a civilian evacuation ahead of a ground assault, however, the Israeli military called on Palestinians in eastern parts of Rafah to move to a nearby “humanitarian area”.

In a statement, the military said posters, text messages, phone calls and media announcements would be used to “encourage … the gradual movement of civilians in the specified areas”.
Seven months into its offensive against Hamas, and that victory is impossible without taking the city.

But with more than a million displaced Palestinians sheltering in Rafah, the prospect of a high-casualty operation worries Western powers and neighbouring Egypt.

Earlier, the latest round of Gaza ceasefire talks ended in Cairo, after Hamas reiterated key demands that Israel again rejected.

After earlier signs of progress, the outlook appeared to dim as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to resist international pressure to halt the war.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant claimed Hamas wasn’t serious about a deal and warned of “a powerful operation in the very near future in Rafah and other places across all of Gaza” after Hamas attacked Israel’s main crossing point for delivering badly needed humanitarian aid, killing three soldiers.
Israel’s military said it believed Hamas was targeting soldiers massed on the Gaza border in preparation for a possible Rafah invasion. Hamas said it targeted soldiers in the area.
But Israeli media reported that CIA chief William Burns, a main mediator in the talks, would meet with Netanyahu on Monday.

Israel didn’t send a delegation to the latest talks. Egyptian state media reported that the Hamas delegation went for discussions in Qatar, where the group has a political office, and will return to Cairo for further negotiations on Tuesday.

Another threat to talks came as Israel ordered , accusing it of broadcasting anti-Israel incitement. The ban did not appear to affect the channel’s operations in Gaza or the West Bank.
Netanyahu, under pressure from hardliners in his government, continued to lower expectations for a ceasefire deal, calling the key Hamas demands “extreme”.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in a statement earlier said the militant group was serious and positive about the negotiations and that stopping Israeli aggression in Gaza is the main priority.
But Israel’s government again vowed to press on with a military operation in Rafah, the southernmost Gaza city on the border with Egypt where more than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents now seek shelter from Israeli attacks.

Australia expresses concern

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Australia had made it clear Israel “should not go down this path”.
“Australia is gravely concerned by the prospect of a major Israeli ground offensive into Rafah,” Wong said.

“Australia, the G7 and so many countries have called on the Netanyahu government to change course.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Palestinians told to evacuate parts of Rafah as Israel prepares for a ground invasion”
  1. Do you think the civilian evacuation will alleviate the potential casualties in Rafah? What are the international reactions to Israel’s rejection of Hamas’ ceasefire demands?

  2. It is heartbreaking to see the people of Rafah being forced to evacuate their homes yet again. The cycle of violence in the region needs to end, and innocent civilians should not bear the brunt of political decisions.

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