World Leaders warn of ‘catastrophe’ if Rafah invaded

World leaders  including EU ,Saudi ARabia, Jordon, Turkiye ,Iran  and US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has said that the planned Israeli “clearing” of Rafah is “a humanitarian disaster in the making”.

“There is no other place for Gazans to go. Clearing Rafah is not war, it is not defense, it is an outright attack on the innocent,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a post on social media.

“This is the moment for the United States to act,” she added, “we must exhaust the levers we have to prevent a humanitarian disaster in the making”.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has joined global leaders warning against the Israeli offensive on Rafah, saying it would “lead to an unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe”.

Israel’s “declared intentions” to invade Rafah would be a “blatant violation of international law and humanitarian conventions”, Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), has said.

The planned invasion “threatens to escalate violence, destabilise the region’s security and stability, and lead to further deterioration and suffering for the Palestinian people”, Albudaiwi added in a statement issued on Saturday.

Albudaiwi called on the international community to “confront these Israeli plans with a spirit of unity and shared responsibility” and with a “deep commitment to the principles of peace, justice, and human dignity”.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has said he is “deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah”, noting that more than half of Gaza’s population is sheltering there.

Jordan has warned against potential Israeli military action in Rafah, an area in the southern Gaza Strip that is densely populated by Palestinian refugees.

Sufyan Qudah, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, reiterated Jordan’s firm rejection of Palestinian displacement, emphasizing the imperative of ending hostilities, protecting civilians, and facilitating their safe return to their homes.

He urged swift international intervention to halt Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, which has caused an “unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.”

He also emphasized the urgent need for the UN Security Council to fulfill its responsibility by promptly imposing a ceasefire to avert further escalation.

Meanwhile, the ministry’s Operations and Consular Affairs Directorate disclosed ongoing efforts with relevant authorities to investigate the death of a Jordanian citizen in his residence in Ramallah in the West Bank.

The Jordanian Representative Office in Ramallah initiated procedures for repatriating the body of the deceased in coordination with the family once the investigation conclude.

Saudi Arabia has warned of “extremely dangerous repercussions” of an Israeli offensive in southern city of Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, where thousands of Palestinians have sought refuge from the Israel-Hamas war.

The Kingdom’s foreign ministry in a statement Saturday said that “Rafah represents the last refuge for hundreds of thousands of civilians who the brutal Israeli aggression have forced to flee.”

The Kingdom said “it stresses it is complete refusal and strong condemnation of the forcible displacement [of Palestinians] and renews calls for an immediate ceasefire.

“The deliberate violations to international and humanitarian laws stresses the need for the United Nations Security Council to meet soon to prevent Israel from causing an imminent humanitarian disaster.”

The UN says about half of Gaza’s 2.4 million people are now sheltering in the city, with many sleeping outside in tents and makeshift shelters, and mounting concern about lack of food, water and sanitation.

On Friday, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, said a major Israeli offensive in Rafah “can only lead to an additional layer of endless tragedy.”

Netanyahu has ordered military officials to draw up plans for “evacuating” Rafah alongside “destroying” Hamas fighters in the city.

Witnesses reported new strikes on Rafah early Saturday, raising fears among Palestinians of a looming ground invasion.

Hamas said in a statement that any military action would have catastrophic repercussion that “may lead to tens of thousands of martyrs and injured if Rafah... is invaded.” 

mid escalating tensions in the Gaza Strip, Israel’s proposed offensive in the city of Rafah has sparked widespread international concern, with fears of a humanitarian catastrophe mounting.

The planned operation, aimed at targeting militant groups in the densely populated area where hundreds of thousands of civilians are taking refuge, has raised alarms among global leaders and humanitarian organizations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s directive to prepare for the evacuation of 1.3 million residents from Rafah has drawn condemnation from various quarters.

The city, already overwhelmed with Palestinian refugees displaced from other parts of Gaza, faces the prospect of further devastation as military preparations intensify.

On Saturday, an Israeli official told CNN that Netanyahu wants the Rafah operation completed by the start of Ramadan on March 10

The United Nations has expressed grave apprehension about the proposed offensive, warning of dire consequences for the civilian population. Human Rights Watch has echoed these concerns, emphasizing the potential for catastrophic outcomes if a mass evacuation were to be enforced.

International leaders have joined in denouncing Israel’s plans, with prominent figures such as UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron and Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot expressing deep concern over the situation. The possibility of widespread civilian casualties looms large, casting a shadow over efforts to broker a ceasefire.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry issued a stark warning, emphasizing the “very serious repercussions” of any military action targeting Rafah. Echoing this sentiment, the United Arab Emirates issued its stern caution, expressing deep concern that Israel’s proposed plan could lead to further loss of innocent lives and worsen the already dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

Hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians residing in Rafah express dire concern, emphasizing that they have no alternative refuge. Concurrently, in northern Gaza, inhabitants recount scenes of “utter devastation” wrought by Israeli military actions, with certain families resorting to consuming water from toilets in a desperate bid for survival.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has reached alarming proportions, with reports of severe shortages of essential supplies and infrastructure in ruins. Thousands of Palestinians have been killed or injured in the conflict, while countless others have been forced to flee their homes multiple times.

Despite calls for de-escalation and diplomatic efforts to find a resolution, Netanyahu’s rejection of proposed ceasefire terms has further exacerbated tensions. The continued military actions have drawn sharp criticism from the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations, all of whom have urged restraint and dialogue.

Aid organizations are struggling to cope with the logistical challenges of evacuating civilians from Rafah, as safe havens become increasingly scarce. The United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator for Gaza has warned of the impending crisis, highlighting the plight of civilians who have nowhere else to turn if Israeli troops launch their offensive.

As the situation on the ground remains precarious, airstrikes continue to claim lives, further exacerbating the suffering of the civilian population. Reports of underground tunnels near civilian infrastructure add to the complexity of the situation, raising concerns about the potential for further violence and destruction.

In the face of mounting international pressure and growing humanitarian concerns, urgent action is needed to avert a full-scale catastrophe in Rafah and the wider Gaza Strip.

At least 112 people have been killed and 173 others injured in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 28,176, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

The ministry in a statement on Sunday said at least 67,784 others have been wounded since Israel launched its brutal military offensive on October 7.

Thousands more are missing and are presumed dead, trapped and missing under the rubble and on the roads, with Israeli forces preventing ambulance and civil defence crews from reaching them.

More than 70 percent of the houses have been damaged in Gaza, home to 2.3 million people, as Israel has been accused of carrying out indiscriminate attacks on residential and commercial areas.

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