Israel threatens Rafah offensive, warning of 'humanitarian catastrophe'

Israel has announced its intentions to launch a partial offensive on the eastern Rafah, a city in southern Gaza bordering Egypt. This operation is set to exacerbate the already catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army stated that the offensive would target Hamas officials and rocket launchers after Hamas fired rockets from eastern Rafah, killing four Israeli soldiers on Tuesday. Israel aims to control the Philadelphi Corridor between Gaza and Egypt, claiming that its security depends on defeating Hamas in Rafah.

Palestinians have been told to evacuate to the al-Mawasi area, designated as a "safe humanitarian zone" by the Israeli army. However, the UN and other aid agencies have warned that al-Mawasi lacks the necessary infrastructure to accommodate those displaced and is not safer than other areas.

The Israeli army has prepared approximately 40,000 large tents for the evacuees in the Khan Younis area. Israel has also withdrawn the Nahal Brigade from the Netzarim Corridor and redeployed approximately six brigades of soldiers to a base near Rafah.

The UN Secretary-General has stated that the offensive would put a final nail in the coffin, while the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has warned of more death and suffering. US President Joe Biden and other US officials have also warned against the offensive unless evacuating civilians. A total of 26 EU foreign ministers have also pointed out that the offensive would worsen an already catastrophic situation.

The consequences of the offensive threaten to worsen the already dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Interrupting the supply routes will lead to a severe lack of food and medicine, leading to more hunger and suffering among the civilians. Evacuation of the sick and wounded is a dire challenge, especially for those who require support, such as the disabled and newborns.

Overall, the Israeli offensive on Rafah poses a significant threat to the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, despite international warnings and objections.

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