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  • Will Irvine

Israel Eyes Rafah Invasion as Negotiations Reach TIpping Point

WILL IRVINE (HE/HIM)


In late February, we reported that Israel had shifted the focus of its campaign of ethnic cleansing to the city of Rafah in southern Gaza. For the last few months, international pressure has forced Israel to hold off on a ground invasion. Now, though, internal tensions within Netanyahu’s cabinet have pushed the invasion into action. 


On May 5, Israeli forces dropped leaflets over Eastern Rafah, urging residents to evacuate immediately. Where? Nobody knows. Shortly after, bombs began falling on Rafah once again. Gazans are now left to flee their tent cities and refugee camps, forcing an already overcrowded population into an even smaller area. Amid an aid blackout, international observers have warned that this could escalate the famine and disease that is plaguing the region. 


Meanwhile, Israeli negotiators are considering a ceasefire deal put forward by Egypt and Qatar, which Hamas leaders have already agreed to. The three-phase deal would see Israeli forces gradually withdraw from Gaza, with the guarantee of a hostage exchange. Once the Israeli military exits, the deal will allow Egyptian and Qatari authorities to re-enter the Strip to begin a rebuilding effort.


However, Israeli authorities seem unlikely to accept the deal. Referring to it as the “Hamas proposal”, Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement saying that the deal was “far from Israel’s necessary requirements”, whilst indicating that negotiations would remain open.

International pressure on Israel has escalated following the finding of various war crimes in the Gaza Strip, including the discovery of a mass grave in a Central Gaza hospital, where civilians (including children) were found with their hands tied behind their back, indicating execution-style murder at the hands of Israeli forces. 


Meanwhile, university students across the globe have faced brutality at the hands of various state and city police forces for raising their voices against the ongoing genocide. At Columbia University, more than 100 students were arrested after occupying a building on campus, with police employing riot gear and mass arrest techniques to disperse protestors. President Joe Biden referred to the protests as “antisemitic”, which anti-genocide organisation Jewish Voice for Peace disputes. 


 


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