Israel plans to move displaced Palestinians to ‘humanitarian islands’

On Friday, March 15, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved plans for an attack on Rafah.

Israel is planning to move 1.4 million displaced Palestinians in the Gaza Strip towards “humanitarian islands” before its planned ground offensive in Rafah.

The chief spokesman of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Rear Adm Daniel Hagari, said in a briefing to journalists on Wednesday, March 13, that the evacuation was a crucial part of military preparations for the anticipated invasion, in collaboration with international actors, Associated Press reported.

Hagari stated that Israel claims Hamas has four battalions in Rafah that it intends to destroy to achieve its objective.

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He emphasized the need to ensure that all 1.4 million residents of Rafah, or a significant portion of them, leave before any offensive.

Hagari stressed that the islands would provide temporary housing, food, water, and other necessities for the evacuated Palestinians.

He did not specify when it would happen or the start of the Rafah offensive.

Israel seeks operational timing and coordination with neighbouring Egypt to prevent displaced Palestinians from crossing its border.

On Friday, March 15, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved plans for an attack on Rafah, as per media reports.

Rafah is currently the last refuge for more than a million Palestinians who fled the northern side during the start of the war between Israel and Hamas. The potential attack on Rafah is expected to exacerbate the already severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Taking to X, Germany’s foreign affairs minister, Annalena Baerbock, wrote, “A large-scale offensive in #Rafah cannot be justified. Over a million refugees have sought protection there and have nowhere to go. A humanitarian truce is needed immediately so that more people don’t die and the hostages are finally released.”

Since October 7, 2023, Israel’s military offensive in Gaza has resulted in the deaths of more than 31,000 people, primarily women and children, according to the health ministry.

The UN has warned of famine in Gaza, prompting countries to diversify aid supply routes due to limited land access via Jordan, Israel, and Egypt.

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