Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Communist Party of Israel-Hadash: Netanyahu's fascist government on verge of causing humanitarian disaster in Rafah

“Israel’s fascist government is on the verge of bringing about a humanitarian disaster in Rafah,” Hadash and Communist Party of Israel (CPI) says in a common statement on Monday, May 6.

Protesting far-right Israeli government plans to “bomb and invade the Rafah area on the Egyptian border, which houses hundreds of thousands of displaced people,” Hadash and the CPI warns of “the mass slaughter and humanitarian disaster involved in the bombing of a very small area containing more than a million displaced people.”

Launching such an operation would entail “sacrificing the kidnapped and hostages on the altar of the survival of the bloody and murderous government,” it continues, calling on the international community to intervene in order to bring about a ceasefire and an end to hostilities.

According Hadash MK Ofer Cassif, “Mere days after his government has agreed in principle to the Egyptian framework of a ceasefire in Gaza in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages, Netanyahu hurried to change his mind when it became apparent that Hamas accepted the conditions. There is no explanation for this senseless U-turn other than as a continuation of the surrender to the wicked Kahanists on whose support his government depends.”

“For these criminals, ‘total victory’ is nothing less than the total annihilation of Gaza and its citizens, in the very same period that we observe Holocaust Memorial Day. For them, the lives of the dying hostages, who have been tortured by Hamas criminals for over seven months, are worthless – a sacrifice worth making on the altar of the government of atrocities and the bloody messiah. Not only is this position morally repugnant and vile, but it is also against the real interests of the citizens of Israel, which are being repeatedly sacrificed in favor of a handful of hate-filled, revenge-obsessed lunatics. I call upon all of the public to take all available nonviolent means to avoid doom for Gaza, the hostages, and all of us. Stop the war! All for all, now!”, he said.

Israel launched an offensive on Rafah on Monday after Netanyahu refused a ceasefire and said he wanted to continue the war. After dropping leaflets asking the Palestinians deported to Rafah to leave the “safe” city, the Israeli air force bombed eastern Rafah. The panicked population no longer knows where to go.

The civilians were being called to move to an expanded humanitarian zone in the al-Mawasi and Khan Younis areas of southern Gaza. The Israeli occupation forces ordered the residents of nine blocks in eastern Rafah to “temporarily move” to a so-called “expanded humanitarian area” in Al Mawassi. The area slated for evacuation is about 31 square kilometers and includes Al Shokat municipality area, As Salam neighborhood, Al Juneineh, Tal Azar’a and Al Bayuk. This area was home to some 64,000 Palestinians prior to 7 October and currently encompasses nine sites hosting internally displaced persons, three clinics, and six warehouses. With today’s evacuation orders, 277 square kilometers or about 76 per cent of the Gaza Strip have been placed under evacuation orders; this includes all areas north of Wadi Gaza, whose residents were ordered to evacuate in late October, as well as specific areas south of Wadi Gaza slated for evacuation by the Israeli military since 1 December.

The occupation army estimates there are about 100,000 residents in the southern Gaza neighborhoods ordered to evacuate and Gaza medical sources say 26 civilians killed in Rafah as Israel begins forced evacuation ahead of ground operation. Between the afternoons of May 3 and May 6, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, 113 Palestinians were killed and 241 injured, including 52 killed and 90 injured in the last 24 hours. Between October 7, 2023 and May 6, 2024, at least 34,735 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and 78,108 Palestinians were injured, according to MoH in Gaza. 

On Monday evening, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh tells Qatar’s Prime Minister Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel that the Palestinian group accepts their terms for a ceasefire with Israel, according to an official announcement from Hamas. A senior Hamas official tells Al Jazeera the same.

Israel has repeatedly said it will not accept a deal, as repeatedly demanded by Hamas, that conditions the release of hostages on the end of the war. On Saturday, furthermore, an official source, widely believed to be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that Israel had not empowered the mediators to issue guarantees of an end to the war, either.

US, Egyptian, and Qatari mediators have been negotiating with Hamas in recent days over a three-phase proposal, green-lit by Israel. The proposal has not been published, but reportedly provides, in the first phase, for 33 living hostages — women, children, the elderly and the sick — to be freed during a 40-day truce, in return for hundreds of Palestinian security prisoners.

Dor Pazuelo/Flash90
As per the reported text of the offer, indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas would begin anew on the 16th day of the truce, to set out an arrangement to restore sustainable calm to Gaza over the second and third stages of the deal. In the second phase, all remaining living prisoners would be released during a further 42-day truce, in return for hundreds more security prisoners, and the Israeli occupation army would withdraw from Gaza. The third and final stage of the deal would again last 42 days and Hamas would reportedly be required to hand over the bodies of those who were killed on October 7 or died in captivity, in exchange for bodies of Palestinian prisoners who died in Israeli custody.

The rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip would begin during the first phase of the deal, starting with the restoration of Gaza’s roads, electricity, water, sanitation, and communication infrastructure. Preparations for a five-year reconstruction plan for Gaza’s homes and civilian infrastructure would be completed during the second phase of the deal, and construction would begin in the third stage.

Racist National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir rejects Hamas’s acceptance of a ceasefire as “a trick.” “There is only one response to Hamas’s tricks and games — an immediate order to conquer Rafah, increase military pressure, and continue to crush Hamas until it is utterly defeated.”

On Monday night, hostage family members blocked parts of Begin Road, near the army headquarters, and Ayalon Highway, calling for a ceasefire and the return of the hostages. The demonstrations came shortly after Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh had informed Qatar’s prime minister and Egypt’s intelligence chief that it had accepted their ceasefire proposal. Other demonstrations against the offensive launched in Rafah and the war in Gaza were held in Central Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheva.