As Israel prepares to escalate its attacks, warnings advising Israel not to enter the densely populated city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip continue to mount.
Israel issued an evacuation order last week ahead of an expected invasion of Rafah. Rafah is a city in southern Gaza that is home to the largest refugee camp for Palestinians fleeing the war. More than 1.4 million people are estimated to be staying in Rafah as the conflict continues.
World leaders are now calling on Israel not to enter Rafah. President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call Sunday that the military operation in Rafah was “a credible and viable strategy to ensure the safety and support of the more than 1 million people sheltered there.” “We should not proceed without a plan,” he said.
CNN reported that the Saudi Foreign Ministry warned Israel that there would be “very serious repercussions” if Israeli forces targeted Rafah.
“Saudi Arabia firmly rejects and strongly condemns the forced repatriation and reiterates its call for an immediate ceasefire,” the ministry said in a statement, according to the newspaper.
Two Egyptian government officials and a Western diplomat threatened that Egypt would suspend its peace treaty with Israel if Israeli troops were sent to Rafah, the Associated Press reported.European Union Foreign Policy Director Josep Borrell I wrote to XOn the platform formerly known as Twitter, it claimed that the attack on Rafah “will lead to an unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe and serious tensions with Egypt.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in an interview with NPR that Israel's operation in Rafah “cannot continue.”
“And that would dramatically worsen the humanitarian emergency that we are all currently trying to alleviate. Israel has civilians, its civilians safe and access to humanitarian aid and basic services. We have a duty to ensure that access is available,” she continued.
Israel attacked Rafah last week after the US warned of expanding the war to the overcrowded city. State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said last week that “a haphazard and almost thoughtless move to Rafah in a region where 1 million people have been displaced would be a disaster.”
Mr Biden also said last week that Israel's response in Gaza was “overreaching”, a comment Netanyahu dismissed in an interview on ABC's “This Week” on Sunday. Prime Minister Netanyahu also said the warning against entering Rafah was “basically telling us to lose the war.”
Associated Press contributed
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