Home News Israel ignores international opinion and advances further towards Rafah

Israel ignores international opinion and advances further towards Rafah

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Israeli troops advanced deeper into the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on Thursday, widening their offensive into the city and forcing more people to evacuate, as Israel faces growing international pressure and isolation over its war with Hamas.

As fighting rages, the International Court of Justice in The Hague says it will Friday Reply South African petition calls for order Stop now The ICJ, a branch of the United Nations, has no way of enforcing its orders, but asking Israel to rein in an invasion would add to a series of diplomatic and legal setbacks Israel has suffered since the start of the war.

This week, the chief prosecutor of another world court, the International Criminal Court, Application for arrest warrant Three European countries announced that they would try the Israeli Prime Minister, Defense Minister and three Hamas leaders for crimes against humanity, despite Israel’s strong opposition. Recognition of the State of Palestine.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders are considering First, domestic public opinionMuch of the country still views the war with Hamas as a life-or-death conflict. While international support for Israel has waned over its devastating military response in Gaza, Israelis remain focused on the brutality of the October 7 attack led by Hamas.

The Israeli military said Thursday it was conducting what it called a limited operation against Hamas militants in Rafah’s Bassi and Shabla districts, which are roughly halfway between the Israeli border in the southeast and the Mediterranean coast in the northwest.

The assault on Rafah, which has held more than a million Palestinians forced out of other parts of Gaza, could be a major test of Israel’s relationship with the United States, one of its most important and staunch allies.

President Biden and his aides criticized Israel for its heavy-handed approach in the war, saying the war could have resulted in fewer casualties and destruction, and told Israel not to launch a war. Massive invasion of Rafah But it failed to protect the civilians there.

The fighting is ongoing and it is difficult to gauge the scale of casualties and destruction, but Israeli officials have adopted language to frame the military action that matches U.S. demands.

Chief military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hajari said Thursday that the Israeli army is “improving our operations to minimize the harm to Gaza civilians where Hamas is hiding.” He added, “We are not storming Rafah, we are operating with great caution and precision.”

A day earlier, Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said Israel had not crossed any of the administration’s red lines so far. “Our biggest concern is large-scale Israeli access to densely populated urban areas, and that will continue to be a concern for us,” Sullivan told reporters at the White House. “So far, we have not seen that.”

The Israeli army has been systematically advancing toward Rafah since May 6, and has so far refrained from major bombings in other parts of Gaza after asking people to evacuate parts of the city. The United Nations said this week that some 815,000 people have fled, many on foot, most of them heading further north to the war-torn cities of Khan Yunis and Deir al-Balah, and the coastal village of Al-Mawasi.

Filippo Lazzarini, head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, said this week that areas hosting the displaced are extremely crowded and “lack the minimum conditions for the delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance in a safe and dignified manner.”

Many Gazans have fled several times as the front lines have shifted, finding again and again that the areas Israel directs them to, while perhaps less dangerous than war-torn areas, are far from safe and are vulnerable to bombing, poverty and disease.

Israel has occupied and closed the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, one of the most important gateways for bringing food and other supplies into Gaza and distributing them throughout Gaza. Access via other routesBut aid groups say not enough aid is reaching people in parts of Gaza.

The international outcry against Israel’s war seems to have had little impact on the country’s public. Massacre in Southern IsraelThe government says about 1,200 people have been killed and 250 have been taken hostage, which remains the backdrop to the conflict. Israeli news media continue to report on the stories of Gaza victims, survivors and the families of hostages.

Growing Israeli discontent with Netanyahu’s government is not focused on the 35,000 deaths claimed by Gaza health authorities, or the devastation wrought by Israeli bombs. Rather, it is focused on the failure to anticipate and prevent the October 7 attack, the failure to bring home an estimated 128 hostages, alive and dead, the failure to develop and articulate a clear plan to end the conflict and govern Gaza postwar, and the failure to decisively defeat Hamas.

Analysts say Netanyahu hopes to use criticism abroad to quell discontent at home, and some of his main political opponents came to his defense after ICC prosecutor Karim Khan announced he would seek an arrest warrant for the prime minister.

“Israel is not only isolated, it feels like it’s under some kind of siege,” said Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli diplomat.

Faced with the decision by Spain, Norway and Ireland on Wednesday to recognize the Palestinian state, Israeli officials sought to drag the talks back to October 7. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said he would reprimand the ambassadors of those countries and show them videos of kidnappings of Palestinians. Five female soldiers during the Hamas attack.

The leader of Israel’s right-wing coalition government has shown strong resistance and contempt for outside criticism. Netanyahu called the decision of the three European countries to recognize the establishment of a Palestinian state a “reward for terrorism.” Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said that in response, he would Withholding funds The Palestinian Authority, which has been punished for its activities in its bid for recognition.

Netanyahu accused ICC prosecutor Khan of comparing Hamas fighters to the Israeli army, even though Khan only wanted to indict top leaders of both sides, not rank-and-file fighters. “How dare you compare the demons of Hamas to the soldiers of the most moral army in the world, the Israeli army?” Netanyahu said.

He also refused Negotiating a two-state solutionThis is a path long advocated by the United States and many of Israel’s Western allies, who argue that it would reward terrorism.

Analysts say the Israeli leadership’s intransigence could encourage more countries to oppose it — or at least unilaterally recognize Palestine as a state.

“Think about the message that Israel has sent over the last few months, that the two-state solution has failed, that they don’t want to negotiate a Palestinian state,” said Alonso Gulmendi Dunkelberg, an international relations expert at the University of Oxford. “When that alternative has failed, what else can you do except act unilaterally?”

Israeli officials believe the offensive on Rafah is crucial to defeating remaining Hamas forces and destroying the group’s infrastructure, including underground tunnels leading into Egypt. They also say many of the remaining Israeli hostages are being held in Rafah.

Netanyahu says Israel must control Buffer zone The American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project said the Israeli army is deploying air defenses along the Gaza-Egypt border to prevent arms smuggling. Israeli troops appear to be moving along the corridor. The Israeli military said it would not comment on the location of its troops.

Hamas has repeatedly appeared and fought Israeli troops in areas of Gaza that Israeli forces had cleared and evacuated, but Israel has not sent enough troops to firmly control a neighborhood after it has driven Hamas out of it and prevent the militants from returning.

The Israeli military said on Thursday it was also carrying out operations in central Gaza and JabaliyaGaza health authorities said Israeli troops raided Al-Awda Hospital near Jabaliya on Wednesday night and ordered the hospital to be evacuated.

Some military analysts questioned whether Israel’s operation in Rafah could deal a decisive blow to Hamas and said many of the group’s fighters may have already left.

The military said its forces had destroyed several tunnels in Rafah and killed militants in “close-quarter combat.” Hamas had no immediate comment on the fighting on Thursday.

Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between fighters and civilians, said more than 100 people had been killed and hundreds injured in the region from Monday to Wednesday.

Neither party’s claims could be independently verified.

Reported by Richard Perez Pena, Anushka Patil, Hiba Yazbek and Gaya Gupta.

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