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Netanyahu Vows to Carry Out Rafah Operation; US Calls It a Mistake

April 09, 2024 RawAmericanTruth Politics | Foreign Policy 0
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has escalated his pledge to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which is filled with around 1.4 million Palestinians, most of whom are displaced from other parts of the Gaza Strip.

"It will happen. There is a date," Netanyahu said in a video statement Monday, without elaborating.

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The United States, Israel's closest ally, has said a ground operation into Rafah would be a mistake and has demanded to see a credible plan to protect civilians. Netanyahu spoke as Israeli negotiators are in Cairo discussing international efforts to broker a cease-fire deal with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Israeli troops withdrew Sunday from Khan Younis, another city in southern Gaza, ending a key phase of the war. Defense officials say they are regrouping ahead of a push into Rafah. Palestinians who visited Khan Younis on Monday said the city is now unlivable, offering them little immediate chance to return. Many have been sheltering in Rafah.

The Gaza death toll from the war has passed 33,200, with nearly 76,000 wounded, Gaza's Hamas terrorist-run Health Ministry said. The terrorist ministry does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its tally, but claims – without evidence – women and children make up two-thirds of the dead.


The war began Oct. 7 when Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking around 250 people hostage.

Netanyahu has repeatedly said Israel must send ground forces into Rafah, saying it is Hamas'  last stronghold in Gaza.

But the international community, including the U.S., opposes the operation, saying the roughly 1.4 million civilians seeking shelter there will be in danger.

Israel has insisted it has a plan to protect the civilians.

Netanyahu spoke as Israeli negotiators were in Cairo discussing international efforts to broker a cease-fire deal with Hamas.

A pair of mapping experts say Israel’s offensive in the southern Gaza City of Khan Younis appears to have left over half of the city’s buildings with damage or destruction visible from space.

As of last week, over 55% of the city’s buildings were likely damaged or destroyed, according to an analysis of Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellite data by Corey Scher of the CUNY Graduate Center and Jamon Van Den Hoek of Oregon State University. They say that accounts for 45,000 buildings.

Still, the damage in Khan Younis and other parts of the Strip's south is considerably less than in the north of Gaza, where the researchers estimate 70% of buildings were likely damaged or destroyed.

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Israel’s ground and aerial bombardment campaign, begun after the Hamas attack Oct. 7, has wreaked unprecedented damage on the strip, leveling entire apartment buildings and leaving much of the territory in ruins, a moonscape from war.

Israel withdrew its last ground troops from Khan Younis on Sunday, marking the end of a key phase in its war against Hamas.

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