“The war objective of eliminating Hamas and leaving four battalions in Rafah cannot be achieved,” the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said.
Benjamin Netanyahu wants the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Defense Ministry to present to the Cabinet a twin plan to “withdraw the population and eliminate the battalions” of Islamist militants.
“It is clear that a large-scale operation in Rafah will require the removal of civilians from war zones,” the official statement said.
Israeli attacks on Rafah, which borders Egypt and is home to 1.3 million Palestinians living in crowded conditions, have escalated in recent days, and fears of an IDF ground offensive in the area have now grown. Israeli announcement.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had already suggested several times last week that Israel would move towards Rafah once it ends its operations in the southern Hamas stronghold of Khan Yunis.
The possibility seemed remote as another potential cease-fire deal to release Palestinian hostages and prisoners was being negotiated, but talks appear to have stalled as Hamas demands a firm cease-fire and troop withdrawal that includes the Israelis, something Netanyahu strongly opposes.
Both the UN and the US have expressed their concern over a possible escalation of the Israeli military's ground offensive into Rafah, the last refuge of more than a million Gazans who have fled four months of fighting.
The State Department warned on Thursday that the military operation in Rafah would be “disastrous” without adequate planning to evacuate civilians.
“Under international humanitarian law, indiscriminate bombing of populated areas may be a war crime. Escalation of hostilities in Rafah under these circumstances could result in massive civilian casualties,” Jens Lark said this week. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
According to Israel, an unprecedented attack by Hamas on October 7 caused around 1,200 deaths.
Since then, nearly 28,000 Palestinians, most of them women, children and youth, have been killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli bombings and military operations, according to the health ministry of Hamas, a movement considered a terrorist organization. Since 2007.
“Hardcore explorer. Extreme communicator. Professional writer. General music practitioner. Prone to fits of apathy.”