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‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 126: US Claims It Won’t Support Ground Operation

Above photo: Injured Palestinians receive treatment at a Red Crescent Medical Point in Rafah, Southern Gaza, after they were injured in an Israeli raid on February 5, 2024. Bashar Taleb/APA Images.

Israel Escalates Attacks Anyway.

Even Joe Biden admits that Israel’s conduct in Gaza is “over the top,” while the Israeli army has continued to intensify its attacks following Netanyahu’s rejection of Hamas’s most recent ceasefire proposal.


  • 27,947+ Palestinians killed in Gaza, including at least 12,000 children.
  • 67,459+ Palestinians injured. 

Key Developments

  • U.S. announces that it will not support an “unplanned” ground operation in Rafah.
  • U.S. President Joe Biden criticizes Israel’s actions in Gaza as “over the top.”
  • Israeli military intensifies attacks on Rafah, despite warnings.
  • Israeli snipers murdered at least 17 people outside of Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.
  • UN: 500,000 children out of school in Gaza.
  • ActionAid: Food in Gaza is becoming so rare that people are eating grass.
  • Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollah travels to Beirut to meet with “senior Lebanese officials and resistance group leaders.”
  • Eleven Palestinians arrested in raids in West Bank.
  • Saudi Arabia hosts top Arab diplomats, calling for immediate ceasefire and recognition of a Palestinian state.
  • U.S. army intelligence officers says Israel has killed one-third of Hamas fighters.

U. S. Opposes ‘Unplanned’ Military Operation In Rafah

The United States has warned that it will not support an “unplanned” military operation in Rafah without due consideration for displaced Palestinians who are sheltering there.

“We haven’t seen any plans that would convince us that they [the Israeli military] is about to, or imminently going to conduct any major operations in Rafah,” said U.S. national security spokesperson John Kirby, addressing a White House Press Conference on Thursday.

“More than one million Palestinians are sheltering in and around Rafah,” he continued. “The Israeli military has a special obligation as they conduct operations there or anywhere else to make sure that they’re factoring in protection for innocent civilian life.”

U.S. President Joe Biden echoed his concerns, giving a speech where he referred to Israel’s actions in Gaza as “over the top,” in a stark departure from his usual unequivocal support of Israel.

Biden’s comments come following several protests across the country calling for a ceasefire, as well as increased political pressure from the Palestinian and Arab-American community to not support Biden during the 2024 election campaign, given his inaction on Gaza.

The Council on Islamic Relations has also called on the Biden administration to secure the release of two U.S. citizens kidnapped by Israeli forces in Gaza.

Nevertheless, the U.S. has so far done little to meaningfully use its leverage in the region — even though Netanyahu threw out a proposed ceasefire earlier this week.

Alarmingly, the Israeli military continues to intensify its attacks across the Gaza Strip. Over the past 24 hours, Israeli airstrikes have targeted several homes across Gaza City, as well as homes in Deir al-Balah and Rafah. Just last night, Israeli snipers gunned down at least 17 people outside of the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, in an example of an increasing trend of targeted attacks.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis across the Gaza Strip is only getting worse — an estimated 500,000 children are unable to go to school, and the hunger crisis has become so severe that people have started to eat grass, in the absence of anything else. Rafah, the last so-called “safe zone” in Gaza, has been described as a “pressure cooker of despair,” as more than 1.4 million people shelter in overcrowded UN shelters and tent cities. Given that Rafah is the southernmost district in the Gaza Strip on the border with Egypt — the Egyptian border remains closed to Palestinians hoping to flee Gaza — many are left wondering where they will go in the likely event of a ground invasion.

“Where do we go after Rafah?” a woman named Warda Abu Warda told Al Jazeera, following an Israeli airstrike killing thirteen people in Rafah. “Do we go to the sea?”

Raids, Arrests, And Death In Custody In The West Bank

Israeli raids continue across the West Bank, as 11 Palestinians were arrested in Ramallah,

Sinjil and Tulkarem last night, including a journalist identified as Hamza Safi.

A Palestinian prisoner died in Israeli custody, bringing the total number of Palestinians who have died in Israeli custody since October 7, 2023, to eight.

Ending The War In Gaza ‘Critical’ To Regional Stability

As Hamas representatives once again return to Cairo to work on a ceasefire with Egyptian and Qatari negotiators, political analysts and world leaders alike are ringing the alarm bell that failure to reach a ceasefire agreement could result in a regional escalation in violence, as well as a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

“I think the big three – Iran, Israel and the US – do not want to see escalation,” said Crisis Group President Comfort Ero, pointing out that starting with a 40-day truce (and expanding from there) could be a positive start to avoiding the kind of escalation that many fear.

Several other Arab countries — including both the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia — have recently hosted meetings to discuss de-escalating tensions in the region and the need for an immediate ceasefire and recognition of a Palestinian state. However, given that Netanyahu rejected the most recent ceasefire proposal and called Hamas’s demands for a three-phase plan for the end of the war (which would include a temporary ceasefire and the release of many Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israel prisoners) as “crazy” — some fear that any agreement could come too little, too late.

“We are also seeing that every day, we are one step closer to a major miscalculation,” Ero continued. “Averting that kind of catastrophe again becomes really important.”

Meanwhile, Netanyahu has said that the only “day after” will come the “day after Hamas — all of Hamas.” Given that a recent U.S. intelligence services report has found that only one-third of Hamas fighters have been killed since the beginning of the war, this vision of “total victory” could be a long way away. In the meantime, civilians will inevitably be caught in the crossfire.

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