The prospect of an Israeli incursion into Gaza’s southernmost town of Rafah remained Sunday, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised safe passage to fled inhabitants.
In an interview broadcast Sunday, Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s plan to continue its military operation against Hamas into Rafah.
Despite worldwide concern about the potential for slaughter in a place crowded with more than half of the Gaza Strip’s 2.4 million residents, Netanyahu stated, “We’re going to do it”.
Israeli Prime Minister went on to say, “We’re going to do it while providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave”.
It is unclear where the enormous number of migrants pressed up against the Egyptian border and sleeping in makeshift tents can go.
When asked, Netanyahu would only reply that they are working out a detailed plan.
As Israeli forces have marched progressively south, Rafah has become the final major population centre in Gaza that troops have yet to enter, despite being blasted with air strikes almost daily.
“They claimed Rafah is safe, but it is not. All places are being targeted”, Palestinian Mohammed Saydam declared after an Israeli strike destroyed a police car in the city on Saturday.
The Israeli Prime Minister, who believes that victory over Hamas cannot be achieved without clearing battalions from Rafah, directed his forces to prepare for the operation on Friday. His announcement triggered a chorus of worry among world leaders and aid organizations.
Annalena Baerbock, the German Foreign Minister, tweeted, “The people in Gaza cannot disappear into thin air”, adding that an Israeli attack on Rafah would be a humanitarian catastrophe in the making.
Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry warned Saturday of very serious repercussions of storming and targeting Rafah, calling for an emergency UN Security Council meeting, while UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron expressed deep concern about the potential offensive.
“The priority must be an immediate pause in the fighting to get aid in and hostages out”, he noted.