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‘Blatant violation of international law’: Israel’s planned invasion of Rafah sparks fury

Children reach with their empty containers for food distributed by charity organizations as Israeli attacks continue in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on February 5, 2024. (File photo by AP)

The Israeli regime’s planned invasion of the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah has drawn widespread condemnations from international organizations around the world as well as political figures in the West.

The condemnations poured in after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the regime’s military on Friday to “prepare to operate” in and evacuate civilians from Rafah ahead of a planned ground offensive against the densely-populated city.

Rights groups have already warned against such a move, given the scale of devastation across the Gaza Strip as a result of the months-long Israeli aggression and the huge number of people trapped in the besieged area.

Rafah, housing more than 1.2 million Palestinians, is the last major population center in the Gaza Strip that Israeli troops have yet to invade and also the main point of entry for desperately-needed relief supplies.

‘Blatant violation of international law’

Jasem Albudaiwi, the secretary general of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), said in a statement on Saturday that Israel’s “declared intentions” to invade Rafah would be a “blatant violation of international law and humanitarian conventions.”

Albudaiwi added that the planned invasion “threatens to escalate violence, destabilize the region’s security and stability, and lead to further deterioration and suffering for the Palestinian people.”

The GCC’s chief called on the international community to “confront these Israeli plans with a spirit of unity and shared responsibility,” and with a “deep commitment to the principles of peace, justice, and human dignity.”

‘1.4 million Palestinians in Rafah facing starvation’

European Union foreign policy Chief Josep Borrell censured Israel’s planned invasion of Rafah and said there are currently 1.4 million Palestinians in the southern city “without a safe place to go, facing starvation.”

“Reports of an Israeli military offensive on Rafah are alarming,” Borrell said in a post on his X social media account.

“It would have catastrophic consequences worsening the already dire humanitarian situation & the unbearable civilian toll.”

In another post on Saturday, Borrell echoed the warning by several EU member states that an Israeli offensive on Rafah would lead to an “unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe.”

The top EU diplomat stressed that resuming negotiations to free prisoners and suspend hostilities is the “only way to avert a bloodshed.”

Biden urged to end support for Israeli genocide

US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib called on President Joe Biden to end his support for the Israeli regime’s “genocide” in Gaza after more than four months of brutal aggression.

The Palestinian-American Democratic lawmaker said Palestinians sheltering in Rafah have nowhere to go as Israel prepares to launch a major offensive on the city.

“Over 1.5 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering in Rafah, and now they are being threatened with attacks,” Tlaib said in a post on X.

“There is nowhere left for them to go. When will it be enough for @POTUS to end support for Netanyahu’s genocide?”

Sanders: Military aid for Israel ‘unacceptable’

US Senator Bernie Sanders censured Congress for considering sending $14bn in military aid to Israel as it prepares to launch an assault on Rafah.

Sanders said it was “quite unbelievable” that the US was planning to provide more military aid to the occupying regime given the enormous death toll and destruction in Gaza.

“Does the United States Congress really want to provide more military aid to Netanyahu so that he can annihilate thousands and thousands more men, women and children?” the longest-serving independent senator said.

“Do we really want to reward Netanyahu even while he ignores virtually everything the president of the United States is asking him to do?”

‘An outright attack on the innocent’

US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced on Sunday the planned Israeli “clearing” of Rafah as “a humanitarian disaster in the making.”

“There is no other place for Gazans to go. Clearing Rafah is not war, it is not defense, it is an outright attack on the innocent,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a post on X.

“This is the moment for the United States to act,” she said. “We must exhaust the levers we have to prevent a humanitarian disaster in the making.”

Rafah assault entails ‘grave violations’ of intl. law

Irish Foreign Minister Micheál Martin condemned Israel’s planned assault on Rafah, warning that the move would entail “grave violations of international humanitarian law.”

“It is absolutely clear that a military operation in Rafah, which has effectively now become one of the largest and most overcrowded refugee camps in the world, would entail grave violations of international humanitarian law,” Martin said in a statement.

“It is also absolutely clear that ordering the evacuation of 1.5 million people, who have nowhere safe to go, risks mass forced displacement,” he added.

“This cannot be allowed to happen. All countries, including all EU Member States, must demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. There can be no further equivocation.”

Martin also called on Palestinian resistance movement Hamas to “immediately and unconditionally” release Israeli prisoners in Gaza, and criticized the decision of some countries to freeze funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees over baseless allegations.

Israel’s end game ‘permanent destruction’ of Gaza

Clare Daly, the Irish member of the European Parliament, called for an emergency conference of the EU Council to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and prevent the “murderous onslaught” facing one million Palestinians in Rafah.

Daly said it has been clear since the start of the war that Israel’s “end game was the permanent destruction of the Gaza Strip,” and it must be restrained by the European community.

“Right now a million defenseless and starving people with nowhere to go are facing Israel’s murderous onslaught,” she said in a post on X.

“It is already too late for so much of Gaza, and for so many lives that are never coming back, but it is not too late to STOP THE KILLING and to save lives.”

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas-led Palestinian resistance groups waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime's decades-long campaign of bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians.

Since the start of the offensive, the Tel Aviv regime has killed at least 27,947 Palestinians and injured more than 67,459 others.

Thousands more are also missing and presumed dead under the rubble in Gaza, which is under “complete siege” by Israel.

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