Sunday, April 21, 2024

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Approves Plans for Rafah Offensive Amid Aid Ship Arrival in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given the green light for an attack on Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza, where over 1 million displaced people have sought refuge. The decision comes as a ship, towing a barge loaded with food, arrives off the coast of Gaza, testing a new aid route by sea from Cyprus into the devastated Palestinian territory. After five months of Israel’s military campaign, famine looms in Gaza.

The move to attack Rafah is likely to raise global concern due to the potential for significant civilian casualties. The humanitarian crisis in the territory is already acute, and any assault on the city could exacerbate the situation further.

The decision followed an urgent meeting of Israel’s war cabinet, convened to discuss a new proposal from Hamas for a ceasefire. As part of this proposal, Hamas has suggested releasing Israeli women, children, elderly, and sick hostages in exchange for the freedom of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including some convicted of multiple murders of Israelis. The militant Islamist organization had seized around 250 Israeli and foreign hostages during a surprise attack into Israel in October, resulting in approximately 1,200 deaths (mostly civilians). While about half of the hostages were released during a week-long truce in November, Israel believes that around 130 captives remain in Gaza, with 32 of them presumed dead.

Hamas’ proposal, which allows for a definitive end to hostilities to be scheduled after a first 40-day ceasefire, represents a significant concession. However, Netanyahu’s office has described these new demands as “unrealistic.” Despite this, an Israeli delegation will travel to Qatar, a key mediator in the negotiations, to discuss Israel’s position on a potential agreement.

Netanyahu’s announcement about plans to attack Rafah may serve as a tactic to pressure Hamas during ongoing talks. The Israeli army is preparing “operational issues” and the evacuation of civilians from Rafah, although no specific timeline has been provided for the assault. It could take several weeks to assemble the large force needed to confront the several thousand Hamas militants believed to be based in the city. U.S. President Joe Biden has previously stated that an attack on Rafah would be a “red line” if not carried out with sufficient precautions to protect civilians123.

Shamim Ahmed
Shamim Ahmed
Shamim Ahmed is a certified professional news writer who is also experienced in the travel and sports sectors. He embarked upon a career as a writer and editor. He always appears to us with the latest news which is his passion. Not only that, he helps people to raise their voices for their rights. He also enjoys writing about sports and travels and has contributed to various sports sites. He is a strong believer that the right words can educate and simplify. He loves writing about technical/complex details in a simple, easy-to-understand, digestible, friendly way.
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