World Calls On Israel To Stop The Killing.

Photo: Public domain. Rafah is allegedly riddled with underground tunnels where Hamas fighters hide out from Israeli troops.
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Wednesday brought fresh calls from Qatar and the African Union for more international pressure against an Israeli offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, with Qatar and the African Union expressing concern about an escalating humanitarian crisis with millions in Gaza already not having enough to eat and the prospect of large numbers of civilians being killed as Israel tries to get at Hamas fighters hidden underground in Rafah.

It has been reported by Associated Press that the United States has already cut back on weapons deliveries to Israel to show disapproval of the current course of the war in Gaza.

Qatar has been among the leading mediators seeking to secure a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas, and on Wednesday it said any forcible displacement of civilians from Rafah would be a serious violation of international law.

A statement issued by Qatar’s foreign ministry condemned Israeli strikes on Rafah and called for “urgent international action” to prevent Israeli forces from invading the city.

African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat called on the international community to work together to stop a deadly escalation of the conflict into Rafah, noting the area’s importance as a corridor for bringing humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Israel seized the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing on Tuesday, while also shutting off the nearby Kerem Shalom crossing, drawing criticism from humanitarian groups. Israel said Wednesday it had reopened Kerem Shalom.

U.N. relief chief Martin Griffiths said closing the Rafah crossing cut off access to fuel and the ability for aid workers to cross into Gaza.

Israeli leaders say a military operation in Rafah is necessary to achieve their goals of securing the release of hostages still held in Gaza and defeating the Hamas militant group.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said Tuesday an assault on Rafah would be a “strategic mistake, a political calamity, and a humanitarian nightmare” at a time when famine is looming over northern Gaza.

“It would be tragic if weeks of intense diplomatic activity for peace in Gaza yields no cease-fire, no release of hostages, and a devastating offensive in Rafah,” he told reporters at the United Nations.

He urged both the Israeli government and Hamas to show “the political courage” to secure a deal and stop the bloodshed and urged countries with influence over the parties to use it.

The World Health Organization says about 1.2 million people are sheltering in Rafah, and more than half of them are children. Many came from other parts of Gaza, fleeing in search of safety and shelter as Israel’s campaign against Hamas left much of the Gaza Strip in ruins.

The Israel-Hamas war was triggered by the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel that killed 1,200 people and led to the capture of about 250 hostages, according to Israeli officials. About 100 of the hostages were freed in a week-long truce in late November.

Israel’s counteroffensive in Gaza has killed more than 34,700 Palestinians, about two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Source: VOA.
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