Skip to content
View Featured Image

Canada, Australia, New Zealand Urge Israel Against ‘Catastrophic’ Assault

Above photo: Fatima Shbair/AP.

Spain and Ireland requested on Wednesday that the EU Commission look into Israeli human rights violations.

Canada, Australia, and New Zealand issued a joint statement on 15 February expressing serious concern over Israel’s planned assault on Gaza’s southern city of Rafah.

“We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah. A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic,” the joint statement read.

“We urge the Israeli government not to go down this path. There is simply nowhere else for civilians to go,” it added.

The statement comes one day after Germany and France showed their concern over the planned attack.

“One point three million people are waiting there in a very small space. They don’t really have anywhere else to go right now… If the Israeli army were to launch an offensive on Rafah under these conditions, it would be a humanitarian catastrophe,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Wednesday at a news conference in occupied Jerusalem.

The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement that an attack on Rafah could only lead to a “humanitarian catastrophe of new magnitude and to forced displacement of populations, which would constitute violations of international human rights and bring additional risk of regional escalation.”

On the same day, the prime ministers of Spain and Ireland asked the European Commission to urgently review whether Israel is complying with human rights obligations, referring to the planned Rafah operation as “a grave and imminent threat that the international community must urgently confront.”

US officials have publicly denounced Israeli plans to attack Rafah. US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said last week that Washington will not support Israel in the assault.

President Joe Biden held a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend, urging him not to go ahead with the operation unless Israel has “a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the more than one million people sheltering there.”

A recent Politico report citing three US officials says Washington has no plans to “reprimand” Israel or hold it accountable if the Rafah assault commences.

According to a 13 January report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Israel has briefed Egypt on a plan to evacuate civilians in Rafah. The plan involves establishing campsites along the coast between Rafah and Gaza City. The areas included are south of Al-Mawasi and Sharm Park, where each camp will be equipped with 25,000 tents.

Nadia Hardman, migrant rights researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said that forcing those in Rafah to evacuate again “would be unlawful and would have catastrophic consequences. There is nowhere safe to go in Gaza.”

Cairo has repeatedly vowed to prevent a mass displacement of Palestinians into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

If Israel proceeds with the offensive, its army will disrupt the already minimal aid entering Gaza and cause extensive destruction in Rafah.

There are nearly two million in the overcrowded city, according to the UN. Most of them have been displaced from other areas in Gaza. Such an operation is expected to result in massive harm to civilians. Israeli claims that the besieged city is Hamas’ last stronghold.

Sign Up To Our Daily Digest

Independent media outlets are being suppressed and dropped by corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our daily email digest before it’s too late so you don’t miss the latest movement news.