The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has reached a critical point with more than 1.3 million Palestinians currently residing in Rafah, who were evacuated from other areas of the strip. Residents of Rafah expressed their fear that if Israel enters the city, they will have nowhere else to go. Martin Griffiths, responsible for humanitarian issues at the UN, warned that there is nowhere else to go in Gaza and citizens’ essential needs such as protected spaces, food, and health must be met.
The Biden administration has criticized Israel’s operation in Rafah as a violation of international law and has called on Israel to cease military action immediately. US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stated on Thursday that military action would be disastrous for these people and is not something they support.
The Arab countries have also opposed the Israeli action in Rafah, with the Saudi Foreign Ministry condemning Israel’s intention to enter the city and Jordanian Foreign Ministry warning of the danger of doing so. The expected Israeli action in Rafah has raised tensions between Israel and Egypt, with Cairo making it clear that any uncoordinated action will severely damage relations between the two countries.
Egypt has taken measures to prepare for the possibility of Palestinians trying to cross into Egypt, including installing various technological measures such as cameras and sensors on its border with Gaza Strip. An Egyptian delegation arrived in Tel Aviv yesterday for talks with Israeli officials about the situation in Rafah while Hamas is pressuring Egypt to reach an agreement with Israel within two weeks or else IDF will continue its ground maneuver in Gaza Strip. Hamas stated that they are “ready to defend Rafah” and will not respond to Israeli threats without an agreement that would meet their demands.