Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli military on Feb. 9 to draw up plans for the “evacuation” of Palestinians from Rafah in southern Gaza as it prepares to launch a full-scale assault on the area. Where people would be evacuated to—and how—remains unclear. Over one million Palestinians forcibly displaced by Israel’s military campaign—now entering its fifth month—have been pushed into Rafah. Aid groups warn that there is nowhere left for people to flee to. People in Rafah are already experiencing disease and starvation, with aid operations struggling to meet even basic needs. A ground invasion would “exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said.
On Feb. 7, Netanyahu rejected a ceasefire proposal put forward by Hamas, the Palestinian political and militant group that governs Gaza. Resisting growing US pressure for a long-term pause in fighting, he vowed that Israel will continue the war until it achieves “absolute victory.” Many experts, however, believe the goal of completely destroying Hamas is unachievable, while others accuse Israel of waging a disproportionate response that could amount to ethnic cleansing or even genocide.
From The New Humanitarian, Feb. 9
See our last report on genocide accusations against Israel.
Photo: Yousef Hammash/NRC