Biden asks Netanyahu for safety of 1.3 million Palestinians in Rafah

Biden asks Netanyahu for safety of 1.3 million Palestinians in Rafah

This Sunday, the American President asked the Prime Minister of Israel to guarantee the safety of the 1.3 million Palestinians concentrated in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, the next target of Israeli military operations, the White House announced.

In a phone call this morning with the leader of the Israeli executive, Benjamin Netanyahu, Joe Biden “reaffirmed the opinion that a military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible and feasible plan to guarantee the safety and support of more than a million people who are sheltering there”, according to a statement from the White House.

The population of this city in the far south of the coastal territory, close to the Egyptian border, has more than quintupled in recent weeks, with the arrival of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the war.

More than 1.3 million Palestinians have taken refuge there and the international community is concerned about their protection after Netanyahu ordered the army on Friday to prepare an offensive on Rafah.

In the telephone conversation, according to the White House, Biden reaffirmed the “common objective” of seeing the Islamist movement Hamas defeated and “guaranteeing the long-term security of Israel and its people.”

“The President and the Prime Minister discussed the efforts being made to guarantee the release of all hostages still in the hands of Hamas”, the statement said.

Regarding the more than 100 hostages still held by Hamas since the October 7 attack, Biden “stressed the need to take advantage of the progress made in negotiations to guarantee the release of all hostages as quickly as possible.”

The head of state of the USA, Israel’s biggest ally, also called for “urgent and specific measures to increase the volume and consistency of humanitarian assistance to innocent Palestinian civilians”, said Washington, mentioning that “the two leaders agreed to remain in close contact”.

Netanyahu promised that the Israeli army will guarantee “a safe passage” so that the civilian population can leave before the planned assault on the city of Rafah, in an interview with a North American television channel broadcast today.

“We are developing a detailed plan to achieve this,” he said, ensuring that they are not “approaching this issue casually” and indicating the areas north of Rafah that have been cleared and could be used as safe areas for civilians. “Victory is within our reach. We will achieve it. We will defeat the last Hamas terrorist battalions and take Rafah, which is the last stronghold,” Netanyahu told ABC News.

The announcement of an operation in Rafah generated concern in the international community, namely Germany, France, the United Kingdom or South Africa, with Egypt threatening to break the peace treaty with Israel if Israeli troops were sent to that border location.

The UN and the European Union also warned against this action, which the head of diplomacy of the 27, Josep Borrell, referred to as “an indescribable humanitarian catastrophe”.

More than 28,000 people died in the Gaza Strip, according to Hamas, following attacks by Israeli forces, who declared war on the Palestinian Islamist movement, following the attack it carried out in Israeli territory on October 7th, causing more than 1,100 dead and around 250 hostages.


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