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Wednesday, May 29, 2024  
21 Dhul-Qadah 1445  

Israel presses on Rafah siege as Blinken talks of isolation

Blinken says raiding Rafah is not the way to end hamas

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has warned Israel of global isolation as the latter’s siege of Rafah continues, with dozens more reported killed.

According to AlJazeera, violent explosions rocked Rafah while Wafa news agency reported “violent air and ground bombardment” in the nearby city of Khan Younis.

Israel claims Rafah is the last bastion for Hamas militants, and that it has a plan to evacuate civilians before an attack, though it has not shared one publicly nor with close ally Washington.

Washington says a ground assault would be a mistake and cause too much harm to those displaced there.

“We share Israel’s goal of defeating Hamas… though, a major military ground operation in Rafah is not the way to do it,” Blinken told reporters in Tel Aviv.

Eight people were killed on Friday in an airstrike on a house in Al-Naser, east of Rafah. Video images showed crowds of mourners around white shrouded corpses, while a red rag doll lay in the rubble of a crushed house.

The dead included a father, a mother and five of their children, said mourner Turkiah Barbakh.

“They are all children; they haven’t resisted or done anything. What happened to them is unjust,” she said. “How much longer do we have to endure this?”

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday said there was no safe exit for civilians from Rafah. It is unclear where civilians would go within Gaza or whether neighboring country Egypt would accept them.

Meetings were taking place in Doha on Friday aimed at securing a ceasefire. The truce talks are focused on a proposal for a six-week halt to fighting during which some 40 Israeli hostages being held by Hamas would be released in exchange for hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails.

Israel is prepared to commit only to a temporary pause in fighting, while Hamas wants a permanent end to the war.

Strain in US-Israel ties

A strain in ties between the United States and Israel has become increasingly public, with U.S. President Joe Biden calling Israel’s campaign in Gaza “over the top” and saying it has had too great a toll on civilian lives.

The war was triggered by a raid into southern Israel by Hamas fighters who killed 1,200 people and took 253 hostages, by Israeli tallies.

U.S. officials say the number of aid deliveries via land needs to increase fast and that aid needs to be sustained over a long period.

Israel, which inspects all shipments to Gaza and has sealed off the fence on the north of the enclave, denies restricting food and says it believes enough is getting through.

“As much as we know, by our analysis, there is no starvation in Gaza. There is a sufficient amount of food entering Gaza every day,” Colonel Moshe Tetro, head of Israel’s Coordination and Liaison Administration for Gaza, told reporters.

This is contrary to reports from international experts who warn that there are extreme food shortages in parts of the Gaza Strip and that mass death is imminent.

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