Israel threatens the only passage for humanitarian aid to Gaza by assaulting Rafah border

In a bizarre move, Israeli troops have taken control of the Rafah border crossing in Gaza, only passage for humanitarian aid, raising concerns about a potential full-scale invasion of the southern city. The Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings are vital for the entry of essential supplies such as food and medicine to Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people. These crossings have been closed for the past two days, although the smaller Erez crossing between Israel and northern Gaza remains open.

The White House may have described this as a limited operation, the United Nations has warned of a potential collapse of aid flow to Palestinians due to the closure of Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings. Officials from the UN have reported a severe famine in northern Gaza. Talks with Hamas for a cease-fire and hostage release are ongoing amidst the high-stakes diplomatic maneuvers and military posturing.

President Joe Biden has repeatedly emphasized the importance of humanitarian considerations, and the White House has clarified that the operation along the Gaza-Egypt border does not constitute a full-scale invasion. CIA chief William Burns will attend further talks in Cairo with representatives from Israel, Egypt, and Qatar. There is optimism regarding the cease-fire negotiations, with hopes that the remaining gaps can be bridged for an agreement. As stated by a White House spokesperson, all parties are coming to the table.

A common scene from the busy streets of Gaza (Photo by Emad El Byed on Unsplash)

The ongoing fighting has forced the evacuation of the Abu Youssef al-Najjar Hospital, a primary medical center treating those injured in recent airstrikes on Rafah. The exact number of transferred patients is currently unknown. The US has expressed concerns for the approximately 1.3 million Palestinians living in Rafah, many of whom have already been displaced from other conflict zones. The conflict has already resulted in significant casualties and devastating destruction in the Gaza Strip.

Biden urges caution as Netanyahu weighs invasion plans. Israeli officials have ordered the evacuation of 100,000 Palestinians in Rafah, prompting concerns from the US president. The far-right coalition partners of Netanyahu have threatened to bring down his government if he cancels the offensive or makes excessive concessions during cease-fire negotiations. 

Meanwhile, global solidarity for Palestine is growing, with Columbia University students staging an indefinite strike to protest the university’s support for Israeli policies. Despite international criticism, Israel continues its incursion into Gaza pushing Palestine on the brick of extinction. As Israel going offensive once again, left and progressive organizations and millions of people carrying the flag of resistance around the globe are marching in the support the people of Palestine.

Written by Viraaj Devang

National Treasurer, All India Students' Federation