Saturday, April 20, 2024

Israeli PM defies calls to halt Rafah raid as Palestinian death toll approaches 29k

Despite international calls on Israel's prime minister to not to go ahead with the raid on the densely-populated city of Rafah in southern Gaza, Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated his intention to order Israel's military to go into Rafah, according to his new statement posted on X Wednesday.

Netanyahu has reiterated his intention to order Israel’s military to go into Rafah after the civilian population is evacuated, according to a new statement posted on X Wednesday.

“We will fight until the absolutely victory and this includes a powerful action also in Rafah after we allow the civilian population to leave the battle zones,” Netanyahu stated.

US President Joe Biden told Netanyahu previously that an operation in Rafah “should not proceed” without ensuring the safety of the people sheltering there, the White House said.

Some other world leaders and NGOs including the United Nations have called on Israel to avoid a ground operation in what is now Gaza’s most populated city.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has pleaded with Israel to not carry out the incursion, saying it will be a “serious disaster.”

“The situation is already beyond words. I can’t even describe the situation in Gaza. And if this assault happens on Rafah I think it will be a serious disaster,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told CNN’s Becky Anderson in Dubai on Tuesday in an exclusive interview.

“The best solution is not to do it, and I think the whole world is calling for that. Doing it, I can’t imagine what will happen…I don’t think even hell could describe it…I plead to Israel not to do this,” he added.

Panic is soaring in Rafah as desperate Palestinians decide whether to flee the last refuge in Gaza while Israel draws up plans for its ground offensive. Dr. Tedros called for a ceasefire, saying it was the only way to find a lasting solution to the conflict.

“More than 28,000 deaths now, and more than 70% are women and children. That alone is enough to stop the war, because those who are dying are the wrong people and who haven’t done anything to bring this problem,” he continued.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas, killing at least 28,576 people and injuring 68,291 others, while nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which in an interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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