Borrell expresses his concern about Netanyahu's plan to attack the city of Rafah
(See translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - Middle East Times Int’l: Borrell expresses his concern about Netanyahu's plan to attack the city of Rafah
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced on Friday that the Israeli plan to launch an attack on the city of Rafah, the last refuge for those displaced by the war in the Gaza Strip, "raises concern."
Borrell wrote on the platform X “The information that speaks of an Israeli military attack on Rafah raises concern,” adding that “this matter will have catastrophic repercussions, exacerbate the already catastrophic humanitarian situation, (and) unbearable losses among civilians.”
He added, "1.4 million Palestinians are currently in Rafah, without a safe place to go, and are facing hunger."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the army on Friday to prepare a "plan to evacuate" civilians from Rafah, with the United States and the United Nations fearing a possible Israeli attack on the city, which constitutes a last refuge for those displaced from the war in the Gaza Strip.
Legal experts to the media: Video clips of Palestinian detainees in Gaza being stripped of their clothes could violate international law
Videos showing Palestinian detainees in Gaza stripped, bound and blindfolded, filmed by Israeli soldiers and uploaded online, could breach international law, legal experts have told the media.
As certain media mentioned that hundreds of videos posted publicly by Israeli soldiers in Gaza since last November, and verified eight of them that show detainees.
The Israeli army said it had terminated the service of one of the reservists identified by the BBC, adding that these videos did not represent its values. He did not respond to any further request for comment.
The United Nations declares its opposition to any mass forced displacement of Palestinians from Rafah.
The United Nations said on Friday that civilians in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip need protection, but no mass forced displacement should be carried out, after Israel began preparing a plan to evacuate Palestinian civilians to defeat Hamas in the south.
"We are very concerned about the fate of civilians in Rafah," said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the organization, on Friday.
He added, "It is clear that people need protection, but we also do not want to see any forced displacement, forced mass displacement, of people, which is by definition against their will... We will not support forced displacement in any way that is contrary to international law."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the army on Friday to develop a dual plan to evacuate Palestinian civilians from Rafah in southern Gaza and defeat the last Hamas fighters there.
More than half of Gaza's 2.3 million people live in Rafah, many of them trapped in front of the border fence with Egypt and living in makeshift tents.
The Palestinian presidency accused Israel of planning to expel the residents of Gaza from their lands. Israeli air strikes on Rafah led to the death of dozens of civilians.
Iranian Foreign Minister: Israel seeks to involve the United States in a war in the Middle East
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said, “Israel seeks to implicate and drown the United States in the quagmire of war in the Middle East region, after failing to achieve its goals in the war on Gaza.”
Abdullahian's statements came during a press conference held at Beirut airport, on Friday, in which he said, "The United States must immediately stop its support for the genocidal regime and the killing of children."
The Iranian Foreign Minister also stressed that the war in Gaza cannot lead to a solution to end the conflict, praising at the same time the "Lebanese and Palestinian resistance" at the combat and political levels.
On Friday, the Iranian Foreign Minister arrived in Lebanon as part of a tour that also included Syria to discuss various regional issues, in addition to current developments, including the Israeli attacks on Syria and the ongoing war in Gaza.
The United Nations warns of a "disaster looming" in the city of Rafah
Dozens of Palestinians were killed in new Israeli raids targeting the border city of Rafah, crowded with displaced people in the southern Gaza Strip, on Friday, while the United States warned of a looming “disaster.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he ordered the forces to "prepare for action" in Rafah, which is the last large city in the Gaza Strip that Israeli ground forces have not yet entered.
An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman added on Thursday that the United States does not support the Israeli operation in Rafah, and US President Joe Biden later announced during a press conference that he considers Israel's behavior in its war against Hamas "exaggerated."
UNRWA warns against any major Israeli military action in Rafah
The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, warned on Friday against any major Israeli military action targeting Rafah, south of Gaza, and described the move as potentially leading to more destruction among civilians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously announced that he had ordered the forces to "prepare" to enter the city in order to pursue those he described as being behind the attack launched by Hamas on southern Israel on October 7 last year.
However, Lazzarini, who is under pressure after Israel accused 12 agency employees of involvement in the Hamas attack, said the humanitarian situation in Rafah was extremely desperate.
He added during a press conference in Jerusalem that "any large-scale military operation among this population will only lead to a further exacerbation of the endless tragedy."
“There is a growing sense of anxiety and panic in Rafah,” he said. “People have absolutely no idea where they will go after Rafah.”
Lazzarini added that UNRWA operations are "on the brink of the abyss," adding, "I do not know how long we will be able to operate in such a high-risk environment."
The agency's Commissioner-General said that the situation is getting worse throughout southern Gaza, and warned earlier that the lives of about 300,000 people in central and northern Gaza are at risk due to food shortages, and that UNRWA cannot reach the area.
More than 1.2 million Palestinians, about half of Gaza's population, are now crowded into Rafah, sleeping on the streets in temporary accommodation, amid scarcity of food and water.
Netanyahu asks the army to prepare a plan to “evacuate” Rafah residents and “eliminate” Hamas
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the army to develop a complex plan to “evacuate” civilians from Rafah and “eliminate” Hamas, his office announced on Friday.
Netanyahu's office said in a statement, "It is impossible to achieve the goal of the war without eliminating Hamas and leaving four Hamas battalions in Rafah. On the contrary, it is clear that any intense military activity in Rafah requires that civilians evacuate the combat areas."
Since the beginning of the war, more than a million people have been displaced to the city of Rafah, near the border with Egypt, and the city, where half the population of the Gaza Strip is crowded, has become their last refuge.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees warned on Friday that any major Israeli military operation on Rafah could bring more devastation to the civilian population.
The United States also warned, on Thursday, of a “disaster” in Rafah, stressing that it does not support a military operation “without serious planning” carried out by Israel to protect civilians.