Full-scale Israeli ground offensive in Rafah looms with U.S. blank check
Full-scale Israeli ground offensive in Rafah looms with U.S. blank check
Nothing is more synonymous with war crimes and crimes against humanity than targeting civilians, civilian infrastructure and medical facilities where displaced people take refuge. 

TEHRAN (Iran News) –Nothing is more synonymous with war crimes and crimes against humanity than targeting civilians, civilian infrastructure and medical facilities where displaced people take refuge.

Israel has been committing such despicable and barbaric acts since launching its military operation in the Gaza Strip more than four months ago.

According to the Health Ministry in Gaza, Israel’s relentless strikes against the Gaza Strip have claimed the lives of over 28,000 Palestinians. Most of the victims are women and children.

Thousands of others are feared trapped under the rubble with Israeli forces preventing ambulances and rescue crews from reaching them.

In the face of the international community’s failure and inaction to stop Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza, the regime has been emboldened to press ahead with its atrocious crimes in the besieged Palestinian territory.

For now, the last remaining so-called safe zone in southern Gaza has become the focus of Israel’s military offensive.

Over half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people have sheltered in Rafah after the Israeli military invaded the strip on October 7 and ordered people to evacuate northern and central sections of the besieged territory. Most people in Rafah are living in tents made of plastic sheeting, next to pools of sewage.

Israel has routinely bombed the so-called designated safe zones, including Rafah after telling Palestinians to evacuate to them.

Presently, Rafah is the last refuge for Gazans.

This comes as Israel has pressed deeper into the city of Khan Younis, which is less than 10 miles from Rafah. The Israeli military has raided a hospital complex in Khan Younis under a pretext that Hamas is operating inside it without providing any evidence to substantiate its claim.

Israeli airstrikes have also killed many Palestinians in Rafah over the past days. Rafah residents are now approaching panic about an Israeli ground assault into the city.

On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli military to prepare to evacuate civilians from Rafah ahead of the regime’s anticipated large-scale ground assault.
Netanyahu’s office claimed in a statement that four Hamas battalions are in Rafah. Since launching the Gaza onslaught in October, the Netanyahu regime has said its goal is to smash Hamas. The statement now says it would be impossible to realize this goal without destroying the alleged Hamas battalions in Rafah which is near Egypt’s border.

Netanyahu has not made it clear where the Palestinian residents of Rafah might go considering they are already squeezed up against the Egyptian border.

The only clear thing is that the Netanyahu cabinet seeks to expel Palestinians from their own land. Undoubtedly, thousands more civilians will be massacred in Rafah if Israel launches its ground military offensive in the city under the pretext of targeting Hamas.

Warnings mount
The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has warned that any Israeli ground offensive in Rafah will “blow up” the captive exchange negotiations.

The Omani Foreign Ministry has also raised the alarm about the consequences of Israel’s imminent storming of Rafah.

“We warn of the serious repercussions of the continuation of the occupation in its indiscriminate aggression in the Gaza Strip and its plans to storm Rafah,” the ministry said.

It also called on the international community to “take concrete measures to dissuade Israel from its arrogance and push it to ceasefire and open the crossings.”

UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick, who has been to Gaza to assess the situation there, has weighed in on Israel’s likely storming of Rafah.

“The safe areas that were declared are no longer safe. And if these people have to move – where can they move? We are really fearful of the horrific nature of where we are could only ever get worse,” he said.

In the U.S., Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has demanded that the White House end support for Israel.

“Over 1.5 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering in Rafah, and now they are being threatened with attacks. There is nowhere left for them to go. When will it be enough for @POTUSto end support for Netanyahu’s genocide?” she wrote on X.

Addressing the U.S. Senate, Senator Bernie Sanders also slammed Congress for considering sending $14 billion in military aid to Israel.

Israeli war crimes, genocide

As fears grow over Israel’s assault on Rafah, a glance at international law turns the spotlight on the intensity of Israel’s atrocities in the Gaza Strip.

According to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, collective punishment has been clearly forbidden under international humanitarian law and no exceptions are permitted.

On the basis of this article of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Israel is illegally punishing all the residents of Gaza over the accusations that it has made against Hamas, regardless of the fact that the resistance group is fighting against occupation and seeking to liberate the Palestinian land.

According to Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, “willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person…extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly,” amount to war crimes.

This article shows that Israeli war crimes against Palestinians are crystal clear as the regime’s indiscriminate attacks have killed a large number of civilians in Gaza since October and destroyed many residential buildings.

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG), or the Genocide Convention, is also an international treaty that criminalizes genocide.

According to Article II of the Convention, genocide is a crime committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, in whole or in part.

Undoubtedly, the definition of genocide is exactly what Israel has been doing in Gaza.

In addition, Israel appears to be in breach of the orders issued by the International Court of Justice requiring the regime to take immediate steps to protect Palestinians’ rights and cease all activities that could constitute genocide.

Israel has not only turned a blind eye to the ICJ ruling that was issued late last month, but has also stepped up its deadly strikes in Gaza.

The shockwaves of Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza have spread across West Asia. Many people in countries across the region have expressed their anger at the regime’s atrocities.

Other cities across the globe, including in the U.S. and the UK have also been the scene of anti-Israeli protests over the past four months.

Besides, high-ranking officials from across the world have denounced Israel’s deadly strikes in Gaza.

The U.S. and some of its western allies including Britain, Germany and France, which are Israel’s staunchest allies, have expressed concern over the continuation of the regime’s war and the potential carnage in Rafah.

U.S. President Joe Biden has called Israel’s conduct in the Gaza war “over the top” and urged the regime to stop starvation, suffering and killing of civilians. He recently sent Secretary of State Antony Blinken to West Asia where he met with Arab and Israeli officials with a purported aim to establish a ceasefire.

But neither Biden’s criticism nor Blinken’s tour could push Israel to put a halt to its deadly war campaign in Gaza.

Currently, despite international outcry and Washington’s stance, Israel continues to perpetrate crimes in Gaza. This is because the U.S. criticizes Israel but its actions are precisely the opposite. Washington has chosen not to attach conditions to its huge military and diplomatic support for Israel and continues to supply the regime with weapons.

Biden’s calls for protecting civilians in Gaza are also nothing more than shedding crocodile tears.

Other Western countries such as the UK, Germany and France have almost adopted a similar approach.

The U.S. and the three above-mentioned European countries sometimes implement the good cop and bad cop scenario to exonerate themselves amid huge public protests over their unwavering support for Israel.

In short, certain western countries led by the United States have given Israel a “blank check” for its genocidal assault on Gaza.

  • source : Tehrantimes