Conflict between the US and Israel over the Rafah attack intensifies
Biden: “Guaranteeing the safety of refugees comes first, going beyond attacks”
Netanyahu: “Victory is just around the corner, if we don’t enter Rafah, it will be a war zone.”
Israel attacked Rafah, the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip, despite opposition from the international community, including the United States, killing at least dozens of people on the 12th (local time). Rafah, which borders Egypt, is where 1.4 million civilians who have come to the south to escape the war between Israel and the Palestinian armed group Hamas are concentrated, and is a major gateway through which relief supplies from the international community enter. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuted the international community’s criticism of the airstrikes in the area, saying, “Are you saying we are losing the war?”
The exact number of casualties from today’s attack has not yet been determined. However, according to the Times of Israel, the Gaza Strip Health Ministry of Hamas announced that about 100 civilians were killed in Rafah in the early morning of the same day due to bombing using fighter jets and tanks of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Currently, it is estimated that 1.4 million people, more than half of the Gaza Strip’s population of 2.3 million, are staying in the Rafah area, which is called the last refuge in Gaza, saying, “There is no place to escape anymore.”
Israel, which retaliated after being attacked by Hamas on October 7 last year, carried out ground operations in the northern and central Gaza Strip and has recently gradually carried out attacks on Rafah. As a result, the risk of mass murder of civilians has increased, sparking concern in the international community.
This attack took place immediately after U.S. President Joe Biden conveyed to Prime Minister Netanyahu in a phone call on the 11th that “military operations should not be carried out in Rafah before the safety of the residents is secured.” Previously, on the 8th, President Biden criticized Israel’s recent attack, saying it had “crossed the line.” The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) quoted former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren and reported that “the United States and Israel are ‘completely at odds’” regarding the method of conducting the war.
On the same day, Prime Minister Netanyahu appeared on ABC’s ‘This Week’ and said, “The admonition not to enter Rafah under any circumstances is basically saying that we should lose the war and leave Hamas alone,” and added, “It is a story that has no room for second thought, and victory is a victory.” “It’s right in front of your nose,” he dismissed. He also added that he is making efforts to reduce civilian casualties, such as instructing the military on evacuation plans for refugees. The IDF rescued two male hostages held by Hamas in an attack on the 12th.
Neighboring Arab countries are all protesting. Egypt strongly criticized Israel through an official statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, saying, “It is a violation of international law and international humanitarian law.” According to Al-Ahram, an Egyptian media outlet, there was a strong warning that if the Israeli ground forces advanced on Rafah, they would stop the ‘Camp David Peace Agreement’ that led to the end of the 1978 Israel-Egypt War.
Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.