Prior to the planned ground assault on the city of Rafah, which is located in the southern region of the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged a “safe corridor” for the hundreds of thousands of civilians who are seeking refuge in the area.
In an interview with ABC News, a US-based broadcast station, Netanyahu asserted that they were not taking the situation lightly. He stated that a “safe corridor” would be provided for the civilian population to vacate the area, a snippet of the interview that was reported ahead of its broadcast on Sunday night.
When queried about the provision for the over one million Palestinians living in the city that shares borders with Egypt, Netanyahu responded that a comprehensive plan was underway. The full interview is scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday afternoon (CET) as per the broadcasting station.
Warnings of a humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip
John Kirby, the Communications Director of the National Security Council, reiterated the US government’s stance against military action in Rafah in recent times. He stated, “We believe that a military operation at this time would be a catastrophe for these people,” adding that “We wouldn’t support that.”
UN Secretary General António Guterres also voiced his concerns about a potential humanitarian disaster and its implications for the entire region. He expressed his concern about the condensed population of the Gaza Strip in Rafah as they have no other place to relocate, in a post on the online platform X.
Egypt is apprehensive about the potential rush of desperate Palestinians to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula in the event of an extensive military operation in Rafah.
On Friday, Netanyahu instructed the national army to prepare for an attack on Rafah. He pointed out that the goal of eliminating Hamas from the war could not be achieved if four Hamas battalions remained in Rafah, according to a statement from his office.
Netanyahu’s take on the war in Rafah: Victory is “within reach”
The strategies of the military leadership must include the evacuation of civilians, Netanyahu said in his interview with ABC News. He was confident that victory was “within reach,” and asserted, “We will do it. We will apprehend the remaining Hamas terror battalions in Rafah, the last stronghold,”.
The war in Gaza was instigated by an unparalleled massacre carried out by terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups in southern Israel on October 7th. Over 1,200 people were killed on the Israeli side. In response, Israel launched extensive air strikes and a ground offensive.