Netanyahu starts plans for evacuating Rafah ahead of invasion

Mohamed Badereldin, Friday 9 Feb 2024

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the beginning of planning for the evacuation of Rafah ahead of an expected ground invasion into the city hosting 1.5 million Palestinians who have already fled northern Gaza.

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Friday, Feb. 9, 2024. AP


Netanyahu's office said "It is clear that intense activity in Rafah requires that civilians evacuate the areas of combat." 

It remains unclear where civilians will be evacuated since. 

Previous evacuation plans enacted by the Israeli military have consistently led to a heavy civilian death toll, with only nominal "safe passages" where civilians were killed. 


The Israeli occupation army has consistently forced Palestinian citizens to move further south the strip. 

Israel at the beginning of the war had forced for all Northern Gaza residents to evacuate their homes and head south to Gaza City "for their safety."

The army then forced the population to evacuate Gaza City and surrounding areas more to the south, but the southern part of the besieged territory is not much safer. 

Israeli forces have launched their ground campaign from the north of the Strip. 

Progressively they have been moving toward the south, where displaced Gazaans took refuge. 

Rafah in the southernmost location in the Strip directly at the border with Egypt, is the Palestinian last refuge.


Moving further south has been a journey filled with terrors for most Palestinains who have lost homes and loved ones along the way. 

Time and again Palestinians who have heeded Israeli warnings found themselves bombarded either while evacuating or in the refugee camps they believed would be safe. 

Currently, about 1.5 million Palestinian refugees find themselves in Rafah without adequate food, water, or shelter.

Rafah's population has increased five times as a result of the influx of refugees and an Israeli attack could be a “bloodbath,” according to Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Egeland stated "No war can be allowed in a gigantic refugee camp."


Since the onset of the war, more than half of the man made structures in gaza have been destroyed 

Hospitals have been bombed, schools have been bombarded, and historic religious sites have been reduced to rubble by the Israeli war machine. 

Residential areas have taken the brunt of the attack. 

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