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Reaction to Israel’s Rafah evacuation call

ISRAEL has told Palestinians to evacuate parts of the Gazan city of Rafah it says harbours Hamas fighters, in possible preparation for an assault that foreign powers fear could bring a big civilian toll.

Here are some reactions:

HAMAS

Statement: “We confirm that any military offensive in Rafah will not be a picnic to the fascist occupation army. Our brave resistance on top of them, the Qassam Brigades, is fully prepared to defend our people and defeat this enemy.”

Official Sami Abu Zuhri: “This is a dangerous escalation that will have consequences. The U.S. administration, alongside the occupation, bears responsibility for this terrorism.”

ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER ISRAEL KATZ

“Our just war in Gaza continues with the exact same goals: the release of all hostages and the defeat of Hamas.”

MOHAMMAD AL-NAJJAR, 23-YEAR-OLD WITH FAMILY IN WESTERN RAFAH

“People have nowhere to go, no area is safe. All that remains in Gaza is death. I wish I could erase these last seven months from my memory. So many of our dreams and hopes have faded.”

U.S. WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESPERSON

“We can’t speak for IDF (Israeli military) operations. We have made our views clear on a major ground invasion of Rafah to the Israeli government, and the President will speak with the Prime Minister today. We continue to believe that a hostage deal is the best way to preserve the lives of the hostages and avoid an invasion of Rafah, where more than a million people are sheltering. Those talks are ongoing now.”

PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS’ SPOKESPERSON NABIL ABU RUDEINEH

“The occupation authorities have actually begun preparing to commit the greatest crime of genocide by invading Rafah.

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“The American administration, which provides financial and military support to the occupation and stands against the international community to prevent the implementation of international legitimacy resolutions and the cessation of aggression, is the (one) that encourages Netanyahu and his leaders to continue their massacres against the Palestinian people.”

U.N. PALESTINIAN RELIEF AGENCY UNRWA

“An Israeli offensive in #Rafah would mean more civilian suffering & deaths. The consequences would be devastating for 1.4 million people. @UNRWA is not evacuating: the Agency will maintain a presence in Rafah as long as possible & will continue providing lifesaving aid to people.”

EUROPEAN UNION FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF JOSEP BORRELL

“Israel’s evacuation orders to civilians in Rafah portend the worst: more war and famine. It is unacceptable. Israel must renounce to a ground offensive and implement (U.N. Security Council Resolution) UNSCR 2728. The EU, with the International Community, can and must act to prevent such scenario.”

FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTRY

“France also recalls that the forced displacement of a civilian population constitutes a war crime under international law.”

JORDAN’S FOREIGN MINISTER AYMAN SAFADI

“Another massacre of the Palestinians is in the making … Failure to prevent the massacre will be an indelible stain on Int’l Cmyt (international community). Too many massacres have been allowed. Enough.”

ISRAELI MILITARY SPOKESPERSON NADAV SHOSHANI

“This morning, and according to the operational plans that were approved by the government, we begin a limited scope operation to temporarily evacuate residents in the eastern part of Rafah.”

AMINAH ADWAN, PALESTINIAN IN RAFAH

“We have been awake since 2:00 am because of the bombardment, and we woke up in the morning to find rain pouring, we drowned in the rain, our clothes and items as well – we are out on the streets. We also woke up to much worse news, to evacuate Rafah.

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“The biggest genocide will take place, the biggest catastrophe will take place in Rafah. I call on the whole Arab world to interfere for a ceasefire – let them interfere and save us from what we are in.”

CHARITY ACTIONAID

“Forcing over a million displaced Palestinians from Rafah to evacuate without a safe destination is not only unlawful but would lead to catastrophic consequences.

“Our aid workers are reporting some of the most severe conditions in recent memory with widespread disease, starvation and chaos. Let us be clear, there are no safe zones in Gaza.

“The international community must act swiftly to prevent further atrocities and hold themselves as well as the Israeli government to account – if an invasion of Rafah is your ‘red line’ will you do everything possible to stop this imminent attack?”

BRITISH SURGEON NICK MAYNARD

“We are at Rafah now. Two huge bombs have just gone off immediately outside the crossing. There’s a lot of gunfire as well about 100 meters from us.”

SALAMA MAROUF, HEAD OF HAMAS-RUN PALESTINIAN GOVERNMENT MEDIA OFFICE

“This announcement confirms the premeditated intention to launch an aggression against the city of Rafah. It aligns with the statements made by the criminal Netanyahu, indicating that the occupation has gone into ceasefire negotiations deceptively without abandoning the idea of a wide-ranging aggression on Rafah.

“We have noticed a limited response from citizens to the Zionist evacuation orders, and vital institutions east of Rafah continue to operate as usual, including the Rafah border crossing and Abu Yousef Al-Najjar Hospital. This reflects our people’s determination to thwart the occupation’s plans and send a clear message that it will achieve nothing in Rafah except what it has faced in other cities.”

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JAN EGELAND, HEAD OF NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL

“Israel’s military offensive in Rafah could lead to the deadliest phase of this conflict, inflicting horrific suffering on approximately 1.4 million displaced civilians in the area.

“The relocation orders issued by Israel today to thousands of Gazans, directing them to move to Al-Mawasi, are beyond alarming. The area is already overstretched and devoid of vital services.

“The absence of these fundamental guarantees of safety and return, as required by international humanitarian law, qualifies Israel’s relocation directives as forcible transfer, amounting to a serious violation of international law. Any Israeli military operation in Rafah – which has become the largest cluster of displacement camps in the world – will cause potential mass atrocities.”

DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS (MSF)

“With more than 1 million people crammed into Rafah, the consequences of a military offensive would be catastrophic. People in Gaza need an immediate and sustained ceasefire.”

By The African Mirror

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