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Global outcry for immediate stop to Rafah invasion ‘too loud to ignore’: UN aid chief

Smoke rises during an Israeli airstrike amid the ongoing Israeli invasion in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 24, 2024. (Photo by Reuters)

UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator Martin Griffiths says the global outcry against the Israeli military’s invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah has “grown too loud to ignore”. 

The UN relief chief said in a statement on Friday that the Rafah onslaught “has displaced more than 800,000 people, fleeing once again in fear for their lives and arriving in areas without adequate shelter, latrines and clean water.”

The invasion, Griffith said, has cut off the flow of aid into southern Gaza, and crippled a humanitarian operation already stretched beyond its breaking point. 

He also said that the attack on Rafah has halted food distributions in southern Gaza, and slowed the supply of fuel for the coastal territory’s lifelines. 

“Though Israel dismissed the international community’s appeals to spare Rafah, the global clamor for an immediate stop to this offensive has grown too loud to ignore,” the UN relief chief added.

Griffiths touched on the Security Council’s adoption of resolution 2730, which calls for the protection of humanitarian workers and the International Court of Justice’s order to open the Rafah crossing to provide aid at scale and stop the military offensive there, saying, “This is a moment of clarity.”

“It is a moment to demand respect for the rules of war to which all are bound: Civilians must be allowed to seek safety. Humanitarian relief must be facilitated without obstruction,” he said. “Aid workers and UN staff must be able to carry out their jobs in safety.”

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Griffiths finally reiterated his demand for the release of Palestinian prisoners and Israeli captives, and agreement to a complete ceasefire in order to end the ongoing nightmare in Gaza.

Earlier on Friday, the International Court of Justice said Israel must “immediately halt its military offensive, and any other action in the Rafah Governorate, which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

Israel unleashed its ground invasion of of Rafah, where hundreds of thousands Palestinians had taken refugee, despite international warnings about a humanitarian catastrophe. 

The ICJ, widely known as the World Court, ordered the Israeli regime to open the Rafah crossing to ensure “unhindered” access to humanitarian aid.

The order was adopted by the panel of 15 international judges in a 13-2 vote, opposed only by judges from Uganda and Israel itself.

Israel launched its atrocious onslaught against the Gaza Strip, targeting hospitals, residences, and houses of worship since Palestinian resistance movements launched a surprise attack, dubbed Operation al-Aqsa Storm, against the usurping regime on October 7.

At least 35,857 Palestinians have been killed, most of them women and children, and another 80,293 individuals have sustained injuries. More than 1.7 million people have been internally displaced during the war as well.

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