Israel gears up for massive ground operation in Rafah despite growing global opposition
04/02/2024 // Richard Brown // Views

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops are proceeding with preparations for a massive ground operation in the southern Gazan city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians have been herded into for refuge following months of indiscriminate Israeli attacks all over the Gaza Strip.

Israel claims that Rafah holds strategic significance to Hamas as its remaining stronghold in Gaza. The IDF alleges that Rafah serves as a base for militants and, thanks to its location near the border with Egypt, a hub for weapons smuggling.

Despite diplomatic efforts and calls for restraint from various quarters, Israeli officials have signaled their determination to proceed with a ground operation in Rafah.

Reports from Egyptian sources, in contact with IDF officials indicate that preparations for the operation are underway, with a tentative time suggesting the beginning of an offensive against Rafah at the conclusion of Eid al-Fitr, an Islamic holiday marking the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of the holy month of Ramada, or around April 12.

Other reports suggest the operation may commence as late as early May, with the IDF being forced to delay due to considerations to broader regional dynamics and international sensitivities.

Concerns raised over massive number of civilians in Rafah

Once the offensive in Rafah begins, Israel claims it has a multifaceted strategy aimed at eradicating much of the remaining infrastructure supporting Hamas while minimizing civilian casualties. (Related: Israel declares major LAND GRAB in West Bank.)

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Israeli authorities have hinted at a prolonged campaign, potentially lasting between four to eight weeks. Tel Aviv further claims that one of the key components of its operation is allowing the evacuation of the civilians in Rafah to safer areas within the Gaza Strip. This requires a massive logistical undertaking that aims to mitigate humanitarian concerns and prevent collateral damage amid the military offensive.

Coordination with Egyptian authorities and international organizations is expected to facilitate this evacuation process. Israel is hoping being transparent about its intentions regarding the Rafah operation can de-escalate tensions and avert a wider regional conflagration.

However, despite these efforts, the situation remains volatile, with recent IDF strikes deep into Lebanese territory targeting alleged Hezbollah positions eliciting retaliatory rocket fire into northern Israel. The potential for further escalation looms large, with each development adding fuel to an already combustible situation. (Related: Israeli strikes target emergency health centers in southern Lebanon, killing paramedics.)

Furthermore, the international community continues to state its opposition to an Israeli ground operation in Rafah, regardless of how many safeguards are being put in place to protect civilian casualties.

"American officials assert their reluctance to support such an operation," reported Al Jazeera's Hamdah Salhut, highlighting the divergence in views between Israel and the United States.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking from Austria, emphasized the necessity for Israel to present a clear and actionable plan for Rafah, ensuring the safety of civilians.

Similarly, Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Slot reiterated calls for Israel to refrain from launching the offensive, emphasizing the potential humanitarian catastrophe it could precipitate and advocating for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

The United Nations had previously cautioned Israel about the consequences of a ground invasion, with concerns raised over the potential for a significant loss of life in Gaza.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths emphasized the dire humanitarian situation, warning of the imminent collapse of healthcare facilities and the exacerbation of suffering among Gaza's civilian population.

Jagan Chapagain, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, echoed these concerns, describing the plight of civilians in Gaza as unprecedented and calling attention to the near collapse of healthcare services.

Watch this video of Israel's latest bombing spree in Rafah.

This video is from the Cynthia's Pursuit of Truth channel on

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