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“Saudi Arabia Warns of Imminent Humanitarian Disaster as Israel Plans Invasion of Rafah”


Saudi Arabia Warns of Imminent Humanitarian Disaster as Israel Plans Invasion of Rafah

As tensions continue to escalate in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has issued a warning to Israel about the potential humanitarian disaster that may result from its planned invasion of the city of Rafah. The oil-rich nation’s foreign ministry released a statement on Saturday, urging an immediate ceasefire to prevent further suffering in the region. Israel is preparing to launch a ground invasion of Rafah, which shares a border with Egypt at the southern end of the Gaza Strip. With more than half of Gaza’s estimated 2.3 million population now residing in Rafah, the consequences of an invasion could be catastrophic.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has instructed the military to develop a plan for the evacuation of the city’s population before launching the ground invasion. Netanyahu aims to destroy four Hamas battalions that are reportedly deployed in Rafah. However, Saudi Arabia argues that the civilians who have sought refuge in the city have nowhere else to go. A large portion of the current population has fled into Rafah from other parts of Gaza since the conflict began.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia warns of the very serious repercussions of storming and targeting the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, which is the last resort for hundreds of thousands of civilians forced by the brutal Israeli aggression to flee,” stated Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry. “The Kingdom affirms its categorical rejection and strong condemnation of their forcible deportation and renews its demand for an immediate ceasefire.”

The warning from Saudi Arabia coincided with a deadly day in Rafah, as 31 Palestinians, including 10 children, were killed in Israeli airstrikes. Earlier this week, Netanyahu declared that Israeli forces would fight until “total victory” was achieved, including in Rafah, after ceasefire talks failed.

Rafah’s population has skyrocketed since the onset of the conflict. In early 2022, it stood at 264,000, but it has now ballooned to around 1.4 million as people seek shelter in the city, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. The question remains: where can the civilians in Rafah flee to if the city is invaded?

The toll of the conflict has been devastating. According to the health ministry in Gaza, at least 28,000 Palestinians have been killed, and 67,600 others have been injured in Israeli strikes since October 7. The conflict was sparked by a surprise terrorist attack by Hamas on that day, in which militants crossed the border from Gaza and massacred approximately 1,200 people.

Saudi Arabia’s statement concludes with a call for the urgent convening of the U.N. Security Council to prevent Israel from causing an imminent humanitarian disaster. The kingdom has never formally recognized Israel, and diplomatic talks with the U.S. to do so were shelved after the Oct. 7 attacks due to Arab anger over Israel’s offensive.

In recent developments, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh earlier this week. Saudi Arabia has informed the U.S. that it will not establish diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognized on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

As tensions continue to rise and the threat of a humanitarian disaster looms, it is crucial for international leaders to step in and find a peaceful resolution to this conflict. The lives of innocent civilians hang in the balance, and their safety should be the top priority for all parties involved.

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