Egypt threatens to suspend the Camp David Accords, a significant peace treaty with Israel, if troops enter Rafah. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu justifies the move as necessary to combat Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, amid a four-month war. The densely populated Rafah hosts over half of Gaza’s population, with fears of a mass influx of refugees into Egypt.
Aid groups warn that an offensive in Rafah would exacerbate the already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, where a large portion of the population faces starvation.
Hamas expresses opposition to any invasion of Rafah, warning it would disrupt ongoing ceasefire negotiations. The potential operation could further restrict the delivery of essential supplies to Gaza, worsening conditions for civilians.
Netanyahu suggests civilians in Rafah could flee north to safer areas despite widespread destruction caused by Israeli offensive operations.
The ongoing conflict has led to significant casualties and destruction across Gaza, with civilian infrastructure severely impacted. International actors, including the White House and the European Union, caution against a ground operation in Rafah due to its catastrophic humanitarian implications.
The Camp David Accords signed decades ago, serve as a critical framework for regional stability between Egypt and Israel. The treaty includes provisions regulating the deployment of forces along the border.
Egypt has fortified its border with Gaza, aiming to prevent unauthorized crossings and smuggling activities. Concerns arise that a breach in the border could lead to a massive influx of refugees into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Israeli authorities claim that Hamas maintains a significant presence in Rafah, suggesting that avoiding military action there would enable Hamas to persist.
Netanyahu remains adamant about continuing the offensive until “total victory” is achieved, rejecting Hamas’ demands for a ceasefire and prisoner release. The conflict, initiated by Hamas’ attack on southern Israel, has resulted in significant casualties and displacement in Gaza.
As casualties continue to mount, with over 100 fatalities reported in a single day, the toll of the conflict on civilians becomes increasingly apparent.
The war’s toll since its onset includes thousands of deaths and injuries, predominantly among civilians. Despite international calls for de-escalation and humanitarian concerns, both sides remain entrenched in their positions, prolonging the suffering of civilians caught in the crossfire.