Image Credit: Mustafa Thraya / Reuters

Israeli Forces Bomb Rafah, Gaza’s Last Refuge for Palestinians

Since Sunday, Israeli forces have intensified their bombing on the Gaza Strip, now focusing on the Rafah area where about 1.4 to 1.7 million Palestinians sought refuge. 

The bombing campaigns are expected to precede a ground attack on the crossing, as various statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have indicated.

Notably, Rafah was considered a safe zone from the current fighting at the southernmost part of Gaza near the border with Egypt. 

Israeli authorities called for Palestinians to flee north Gaza in the early days of escalation, claiming that the south of the Strip would be a designated safe zone. 

Israeli forces proceeded to target traveling Palestinians and later on launched a ground campaign on the south of Gaza.

Same Lies, Worse Onslaught

Israel has claimed that four Hamas brigades are present in the Rafah area to justify its ongoing attacks and its planned land assault. Similarly to its previous unrealistic calls for evacuation from northern parts of Gaza, Israel has also called for the evacuation of Palestinians from Rafah knowing that Palestinians have nowhere else to go.

Adopting another pretext, Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari justified the land invasion of Rafah under the pretext of rescuing the remaining hostages from Gaza.

Among at least 27,947 people killed in Gaza, more than 12,150 are children. Regardless of the actual presence of four Hamas brigades in Rafah, Israel’s onslaught continues its genocidal character, targeting predominantly children under the age of 18 and civilians as what is increasingly unfolding as plans to erase Palestinian presence.

During the last few days, Israeli attacks have been killing more than 100 people a day in Rafah. The area is one of the most historically dense in Palestine, and now even more so, at exponential levels. Food, hygiene and basic health requirements are in precarious conditions, especially after the targeting of UNRWA staff and facilities and the decrease in global funding. Diseases such as hepatitis A have spread widely.

Far from Achieving any Objectives

Israel’s objectives to “eradicate Hamas” have hitherto been far from achieved, let alone being far from realistic to begin with. 

As the massacres of Israeli forces expand southward, it’s important to note that objectives in the north of Gaza remain unachieved.

Operations by Palestinian fighters in the north of the Strip continue to cause losses for the Israeli military despite the north being previously declared as a “cleared area.”

The move towards clearing Palestinian resistance and life out of Rafah represents another unrealistic pretext for Israeli plans.

As matters stand, global solidarity with Palestinians and opposition to Israeli actions continue to rise, including from previous Israeli allies. More recently, discursive opposition from the US, UK and the EU has also risen but with no proactive military or policy-level steps.

As such, prospects remain grim for the millions of Palestinians stuck under recurrent waves of bombardment and subject to genocidal advances.