Israel Palestine Conflict

Palestinian Authority rejects Israel’s proposed Gaza evacuation plan

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The Palestinian Authority on Monday rejected Israel’s proposed plan for evacuating civilians from the Gaza Strip saying it aimed to displace Palestinians from the enclave and confirmed Tel Aviv’s plan to launch an attack on Rafah despite international pressure.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the official spokesman for the Palestinian Presidency, said his government “rejected” the so-called evacuation plan and urged the United States, Israel’s main ally, to deescalate the ongoing “aggression” in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian state news agency WAFA reported.

“The American administration must move differently and seriously to stop this Israeli madness and bear its responsibility by obliging the occupying state to stop this continuing aggression against our people and our land before it is too late,” Abu Rudeineh said.

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“The continued US support is what encourages the occupation authorities to escalate their aggression and crimes against our people,” he added.

Israel’s military proposed a plan for evacuating civilians from the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjami Netanyahu’s office said on Monday, after he announced that a ground invasion of Rafah was necessary for “total victory.”

The military “presented the War Cabinet with a plan for evacuating the population from areas of fighting in the Gaza Strip, and with the upcoming operational plan,” a statement in Hebrew from Netanyahu’s office said, according to AFP.

While the statement did not give any details about how or where the civilians would be moved, the announcement comes after Egyptian, Qatari and US experts met in Doha for talks to secure a truce before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The meeting was also reportedly attended by representatives from Israel and Hamas, state-linked Egyptian media said.

The Palestinian Presidency spokesman labelled the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza as a “genocide” and warned of a wider spill-over of the conflict in the Middle East.

Foreign governments and aid agencies have cautioned against Israel’s plan to attack Rafah, expressing fears that such an operation would inflict mass civilian casualties.

More than 1.4 million Palestinians – most of them displaced from elsewhere in the enclave – have converged on Rafah, the last Gazan city untouched by Israel’s ground troops.

It is also the entry point for desperately needed aid, brought in via neighboring Egypt.

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Israeli forces claimed they were striking targets across the Palestinian territory and battling militants in heavy urban combat centered on the southern city of Khan Yunis, near Rafah, the AFP reported on Monday.

The ongoing war broke out after Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel from Gaza, which killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to official Israeli figures.

Hamas militants also took about 250 Israeli and foreign hostages, 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 31 presumed dead, according to Israel.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed nearly 30,000 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the territory’s health ministry.

-With agencies

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