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Netanyahu to Move Forward with Rafah Ground Invasion Despite US Concerns

Credits: Al Jazeera

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains resolute in his determination to launch a ground offensive in Rafah, despite reservations from US President Joe Biden.

Following discussions between Israeli intelligence officials and Qatari representatives in Doha aimed at brokering a ceasefire, there is cautious optimism from Qatar. However, the prospect of an Israeli ground operation in Rafah threatens to derail any progress made in the talks.

Incoming Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa has outlined plans for a reinvigorated Palestinian Authority and the establishment of an independent trust fund to oversee the reconstruction of Gaza.

Netanyahu (Credits: Politico)

However, these initiatives face significant hurdles, including opposition from Netanyahu to any reinstatement of the PA in Gaza. The conflict in the enclave has resulted in a devastating toll, with at least 31,819 Palestinians reported dead by the Gaza Health Ministry.

The United Nations warns of an imminent famine in northern Gaza, underscoring the dire humanitarian situation. Palestinian militants initiated a surprise attack from Gaza on October 7, resulting in approximately 1,200 casualties and the abduction of 250 individuals. Hamas is suspected of holding around 100 hostages and the remains of 30 others.

UNRWA Commissioner Philippe Lazzarini disputes Israel’s claim that he was denied entry into Gaza due to errors in his entry application. Israel has accused UNRWA of colluding with Hamas, alleging the involvement of UNRWA workers in the October 7 attack. However, COGAT has not provided a response to requests for clarification.

Netanyahu (Credits: Fox News)

Netanyahu insists that a ground offensive is necessary to dismantle remaining Hamas militant groups in Rafah. However, US officials demand a credible plan from Israel to ensure the safety of Palestinian civilians before supporting such an operation. As of now, Israel has not presented such a plan, according to White House sources.

The UN human rights chief condemns Israel’s restrictions on aid to Gaza and its conduct of the conflict with Hamas, suggesting they may constitute starvation as a method of warfare, deemed a war crime.

Volker Türk urges the international community to pressure Israel to facilitate the unhindered entry of aid into Gaza to prevent famine. Türk also calls for an immediate ceasefire and the unconditional release of Israeli hostages in Gaza.

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