Washington, DC – US President Joe Biden urged Israel’s Prime Minister to refrain from launching a military operation in Rafah without ensuring the safety of civilians, a statement from the White House disclosed. In a conversation with Benjamin Netanyahu, President Biden emphasized the need for a viable plan to safeguard the over one million individuals residing in the city. The call came amidst mounting international concerns over Israel’s proposed offensive in Rafah, located near the Egyptian border and serving as the only entry point for humanitarian aid.
Additionally, the United Nations has highlighted the lack of safe havens for the 1.5 million Palestinians seeking refuge in Rafah, many of whom are currently residing in tents in refugee camps. This population has already been displaced multiple times from their homes in other parts of Gaza due to Israeli military orders.
Furthermore, the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers warned of potential devastating consequences should Israel proceed with the operation, citing tens of thousands of anticipated casualties and the potential hindrance to negotiations for the release of Israeli hostages held in the strip.
US officials also stressed the importance of increasing humanitarian aid to the civilians trapped in Gaza, emphasizing the shared goal of defeating Hamas while ensuring Israel’s long-term security. The proposed military operation in Rafah has sparked additional controversy as Israeli allies and international bodies express strong reservations, with the UK and Saudi Arabia voicing concerns over the potential dire impact. The White House’s efforts to dissuade Israel from proceeding with the operation reflects a broader diplomatic entreaty to avert further escalation in the region.
Furthermore, Israeli Defense Forces reported airstrikes in Rafah resulting in casualties, while discovering a tunnel near a UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school, which the IDF alleges to be an “underground terrorist tunnel.” UNRWA has refuted any knowledge of a Hamas tunnel near their office, raising further questions and international scrutiny.
The ongoing tensions and proposed military action in Rafah have prompted a wave of humanitarian concerns and diplomatic efforts to prevent further destabilization in the region. As the situation unfolds, global attention remains fixated on the potential humanitarian crisis that could arise if the offensive in Rafah were to proceed.