Palestinians' hopes for Rafah have crumbled after endless talks on a ceasefire

From Nidal al-Maghribi

CAIRO (Reuters) – Palestinians gathered in the last shelters in the Gaza Strip expressed growing fears on Wednesday that Israel would soon launch a planned attack on the southern city of Rafah, following talks on a ceasefire in Cairo.

Talks in Cairo involving the US, Israel, Egypt and Qatar ended on Tuesday with no sign of progress, with no date announced for the next meeting.

The failure to reach an agreement dealt a fresh blow to more than a million Palestinians who had gathered in Rafah, on the border with Egypt, where many fleeing Israeli bombardment elsewhere in Gaza live in camps and makeshift shelters.

The Israeli military says it wants to evict Palestinian militants from their hideouts in Rafah since the October 7 attack on Israel by the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and free Israeli hostages there, but has not provided details on the proposed plan to evacuate civilians.

“The news is disappointing. We were hoping there would be an agreement in Cairo. Now we're starting to think about an invasion. Israeli tanks, if he wants, it won't happen, but who can?

He added, “We lost our homes and businesses. Isn't that enough?” Enough war. We need another dozen years to rebuild Gaza and get our lives back.

Israel says it is taking steps to minimize civilian casualties and accuses Hamas fighters of infiltrating civilians, including hospitals and shelters, which Hamas denies.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Beierbach, who is expected to hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, said any Israeli military attack on Rafah would “absolutely undermine the humanitarian situation”.

See also  Cuba raised gasoline prices by more than 500% to deal with budget deficits

“Because the people in Rafah cannot evaporate into the air,” he said in a statement released in Berlin. And they need safe spaces and safe paths to avoid getting caught in the crossfire. They need more humanitarian aid. “They need a ceasefire.”

* Bombing at night

Palestinian witnesses said Israeli forces shelled east of Rafah during the night.

Israeli planes and tanks bombed several areas of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, and heavy fighting broke out in parts of the city, residents said.

The Health Ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said Israeli forces continued to isolate two major hospitals in Khan Yunis, and that sniper bullets targeting the city's Nasser Hospital had killed and wounded scores of people in recent days.

One of the doctors, speaking in a video clip from inside Nasser Hospital, indicated that the hospital had been besieged by Israeli forces for 22 days and that bulldozers protected by tanks had demolished the hospital's north gate.

Dr. Haitham Ahmed said in the video clip, which Reuters could not yet verify, “After we woke up this morning, there are cases of panic in the northern region of violent bombings, violent explosions and heavy clashes. The hospital. “It's scary and there's little food.”

Residents of Rafah said on Tuesday that dozens of displaced people had begun to leave the city after Israeli bombardment and airstrikes in recent days.

The Gaza Health Ministry said on Wednesday that at least 28,576 Palestinians have been killed and 68,291 wounded in the Israeli campaign since October 7.

See also  Horror, Concerns and Thanks to Allies... Israeli Testimony Following Iranian Attack | news

In the last 24 hours, 103 Palestinians were killed and 145 injured, the ministry said in a statement.

Many are believed to be buried under the rubble of destroyed buildings across the densely populated Gaza Strip, many of which remain in ruins. The supply of food, water and other essentials dwindles and diseases spread.

Israeli figures indicate that at least 1,200 Israelis were killed and about 250 taken hostage in an October 7 attack by Hamas on southern Israel.

* Endless conversations

The Egyptian State Information Service cited a statement from the Egyptian presidency as saying that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi met with CIA chief William Burns and the Qatari prime minister during talks on Tuesday. Agreement in Gaza, protecting civilians, and providing more aid to the area.

The report explained that “intense consultation and coordination will continue” on key issues, indicating that no progress has been made.

There was no mention of Israel in the statement. A Reuters reporter said the Israeli delegation was returning to its country from Cairo. Netanyahu's office did not respond to a request for comment.

A source briefed on the matter described the talks as “good” and said both sides agreed to continue discussions, but declined to specify the location and date of a new round of talks.

Egypt and Qatar will continue to talk to the warring parties separately, a Palestinian official said.

The official continued, “There is no choice but to continue efforts to end this war. This is a position shared by both Egypt and Qatar and supported by the United States,” calling on Israel to soften its stance.

See also  Israel targets Hezbollah in Baalbek for fourth time

Israel has vowed to continue fighting until Hamas is eliminated and all hostages returned. Hamas says Israel must commit to ending the war and withdrawing from Gaza.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *