JERUSALEM (VINnews) — As Israel completes the conquest of Khan Younis and prepares to attack the final Hamas holdout in Rafah, the international community has expressed concern that battles could break out while over a million civilians are still encamped in the city.Join our WhatsApp group
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On Friday, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that the IDF has been ordered to develop a plan “for evacuating the population and destroying” four Hamas battalions that it said were deployed in Rafah.
In an ABC interview, Netanyahu reiterated his stance that victory over Hamas must include the destruction of their Rafah terrorist bases.
“Victory is within reach. We’re going to do it.”, Netanyahu said. “We’re going to get the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions and Rafah, which is the last bastion, but we’re going to do it,” Netanyahu said in the interview on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”
“We’re going to do it while providing safe passage for the civilian population so they can leave,” he explained. “We are working out a detailed plan to do so. We’re not, we’re not cavalier about this.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu in an interview with ABC:
Victory is within reach.
We will reach the remaining Hamas battalions in Rafah. We will do this while allowing safe passage for the population, so that they can leave. pic.twitter.com/3nTBdRZHS3
— Hananya Naftali (@HananyaNaftali) February 11, 2024
In a reference to international pressure to refrain from attacking Rafah, Netanyahu warned that “anyone who opposes our operations in Rafah is essentially saying, ‘We don’t want you to succeed in this war.'”
In the meantime, the Palestinians dislocated from Gaza to Rafah are apprehensive about the Israeli offensive starting while they are still there.
Aid agencies warned that large numbers of civilians could die in the Israeli offensive and the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) said it did not know how long it could work “in such a high risk operation.”
“There is a sense of growing anxiety, growing panic in Rafah,” said Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the agency. “People have no idea where to go.”
Washington, Israel’s main supporter, said it would not back an assault that did not protect civilians, and had briefed Israel on a new U.S. national security memorandum reminding countries receiving U.S. arms to adhere to international law.
“There are no new standards in this memo. We are not imposing new standards for military aid,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. “They (the Israelis) reiterated their willingness to provide these types of assurances.”
The UN said that Palestinian civilians in Rafah require protection, but there should be no forced mass displacement, which is barred by international law.
“No war can be allowed in a gigantic refugee camp,” said Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, warning of a “bloodbath” if Israeli troops move into Rafah.
The Palestinian Authority said Netanyahu’s plans aimed to displace the Palestinian people from their land.
“Taking this step threatens security and peace in the region and the world. It crosses all red lines,” said the office of Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority.