All Eyes on Rafah Demonstration 024 Demonstration in support of Palestinians. rajatonvimma /// VJ Group Random Doctors, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com

The Israeli invasion of Rafah appears to be imminent as Israeli forces dropped leaflets on the eastern part of the city, warning that “extreme force” will be used in the area.

The Israeli military said it ordered the evacuation of about 100,000 people and suggested they go to the al-Mawasi refugee camp on the coast. Aid groups have warned that an evacuation of civilians from Rafah, which is sheltering an estimated 1.4 million Palestinian civilians, is not possible because there’s nowhere to go due to the sheer destruction in Gaza.

In response to Israel’s evacuation order, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said al-Mawasi did not have the resources to take in the evacuees. The NRC warned that the “forced, unlawful” evacuation order could lead to “the deadliest phase of this conflict.”

The international charity Oxfam also strongly condemned the Israeli evacuation order and noted that Israel has repeatedly bombed areas it claimed were safe. “Oxfam condemns this forced evacuation order, the potential Rafah offensive, and the Biden administration’s unconditional support for Israel that has helped bring us to this point,” said Abby Maxman, CEO of Oxfam America.

“There is nowhere safe to go: for over six months, Israel has routinely killed civilians and aid workers, including in clearly marked ‘safe zones’ and ‘evacuation routes.’  The notion that the 100,000 civilians being evacuated by Israel will be safe and protected is simply not credible,” Maxman added.

US officials have claimed they’re opposed to Israel invading Rafah without a clear plan to protect civilians. But there’s no sign the Biden administration is putting any real pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel appears to be going ahead with the attack and US weapons shipments to Israel continue to flow.

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Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.

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