Daily Review: Israel’s Rafah Offensive Sparks Renewed Backlash

Daily Review: Israel’s Rafah Offensive Sparks Renewed Backlash
Palestinians walk outside buildings destroyed in the Israeli bombardment on al-Zahra, on the outskirts of Gaza City, Oct. 20, 2023 (AP photo by Ali Mahmoud).

Israeli airstrikes have started hitting Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, which Israel says it is now planning to invade despite the presence of more than 1 million Palestinians who have sought refuge from the fighting there. The assault comes as officials from the U.S., Israel, Qatar and Egypt meet today in Cairo to resume negotiations on a framework for an extended pause in fighting, likely around six weeks, that would also see Hamas free the remaining Israeli hostages it is holding. (Reuters)

Our Take

After weeks in which the Israeli military appeared to be scaling down its operations in Gaza, at least compared to its prior assaults, the initial phases of the offensive in Rafah have once again raised the intensity of the conflict—and renewed international attention on Israel’s invasion.

Until a few days ago, Rafah was essentially the last place in Gaza spared from the destruction, even as Israel’s offensive, now in its fifth month, pushed inexorably south. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said he has ordered the military to develop a plan to evacuate civilians from the city, but with the rest of Gaza virtually destroyed and the border with Egypt closed, aid officials say there is nowhere for Palestinians in Rafah to go.

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