War in the Middle East: US calls to protect civilians in Rafah

IIsrael has proposed housing hundreds of thousands of the city’s residents in vast tent camps ahead of a planned military offensive on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, according to a media report. Israel’s proposal to evacuate the city, crowded with more than a million internally displaced people, calls for the creation of 15 camps, each home to about 25,000 people, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday (local time), citing Egyptian officials. tents, in the southwestern part of the previously closed coastal area.

US President Joe Biden has once again urgently called for the protection of civilians in Rafah. Meanwhile, a day after heavy Israeli airstrikes in the area and the rescue of two hostages from the hands of Islamist Hamas, negotiations for a new ceasefire and the release of more hostages will continue on Tuesday in Cairo, according to Israeli media reports. .

Biden demands protection for Rafah residents

A good four months after the start of the Gaza war, Israel views Rafah as Hamas’s last bastion and is now planning a military offensive there, which is drawing international criticism and great concern. Such an approach “should not happen without a credible plan to provide security and support for the more than a million people seeking protection there,” Biden said on Monday (local time) after meeting King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House. Many people have been forced to flee their homes from other places on several occasions to escape violence in the north coastal zone.

King of Jordan: This war must end

Now they are “huddled together, exposed and defenseless” in Rafah, Biden said, demanding: “They must be protected.” The US government has also made it clear from the outset that it is opposed to any forced expulsion of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip.

King Abdullah clearly warned against the offensive. “We cannot afford an Israeli attack on Rafah. This will certainly lead to another humanitarian disaster,” he said. The situation is already unbearable for more than a million people seeking protection there. He called for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. “This war must stop.”

Germany also once again urgently called on Israel to protect civilians in Rafah. A Foreign Office spokesman said on Monday in Berlin that what Foreign Minister Annalena Bärbock (Greens) already explained over the weekend applies: before further major offensives are launched in Rafah against Hamas, Israel must clearly explain “where and how” . can find protection—and effective protection.”

This Wednesday, Burbock reportedly wanted to go on her fifth trip to Israel since the Hamas terrorist attack on the country on October 7.

UN Representative: Don’t be involved in displacement of people

The Israeli government called on UN agencies working in the region to help evacuate civilians from Rafah. Whatever happens in the southern region on the border with Egypt must take place with full respect for the protection of civilians, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York on Monday. “We will not be involved in moving people.” He also questioned whether there were safe havens in other areas of Gaza, also given the many unexploded bombs.

According to the Wall Street Journal, in recent days Israel has presented Egypt with its proposal to create tent cities. Therefore, as stated, the country bordering Rafah will be responsible for the establishment of camps and field hospitals.

Türkiye accuses Israel of expulsion

Egypt fears that a military offensive on Rafah could lead to a flood of desperate Palestinians into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Turkey has accused Israel of deliberately expelling Palestinians following its attacks in the Rafah area on Monday. “We view this operation as part of a plan to expel Gazans from their own land,” Ankara’s foreign ministry said on Monday. They are “extremely concerned” about the increase in attacks in the Rafah region. This will worsen the humanitarian tragedy in the Gaza Strip and undermine efforts to achieve a lasting ceasefire in the region, the statement said.

What will be important on Tuesday

Egypt, Qatar and the US are now making new efforts to secure a longer ceasefire in the Gaza war. As part of the agreement, hostages still held in the Gaza Strip will be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners in Israel in several stages. Negotiations are currently moving slowly, but according to Israeli media reports they will now continue in Cairo. On the same day, the leader of the Union parliamentary group, Friedrich Merz, continues his visit to Israel.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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