Fear Grips Palestinians as Rafah in Southern Gaza Is Hit by StrikesDecember 7, 2023
Israeli forces struck the southern Gaza town of Rafah twice overnight, inciting fear among the civilians who sought refuge. The United Nations has stated that there are no longer safe places in Gaza, and with heavy fighting displacing thousands, the situation has become dire. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a potential “humanitarian catastrophe” while international concern over the grinding offensive grows. The United States has called on Israel to limit civilian casualties but has also pledged its support for Israel and may block any U.N. effort to stop the fighting. However, Israel says it needs to crush Hamas’ military capabilities and remove it from power, particularly following an attack that ignited the war in October.
The ongoing conflict has resulted in millions fleeing their homes, and with Israel’s campaign having killed thousands of people, including women and children, the situation in Gaza is at a critical point. The United Nations reports that access to food, water, and other necessary aid has been cut off, and hospitals and water treatment plants have been forced to close due to fuel shortages. Furthermore, the region has been without electricity for weeks.
Israel has ordered the evacuation of several areas, limiting the places Palestinians can seek safety. The only refuge has been in areas near the border with Egypt, but even there, safety has become elusive as militants have fired rockets from open areas near Rafah. In addition, heavy fighting in the Jabaliya refugee camp and other areas has resulted in further casualties. The situation in Gaza is dire, with access to aid relief and basic necessities being cut off, leaving millions of civilians at risk.