MAP demands urgent action to halt Rafah offensive and avert further humanitarian catastrophe

Israel's disastrous invasion of Rafah, where more than one million Palestinians are sheltering for their lives, appears to be imminent. This morning the Israeli military has ordered 100,000 people in Eastern areas of the city to evacuate to areas adjacent to the already overcrowded coast where there is not enough shelter to receive them nor humanitarian supplies to sustain them.

Once again, Israel's evacuation orders have sown fear and confusion among civilians who are desperate to reach protection. But as Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) and other humanitarian agencies have long made clear: there are no safe spaces in Gaza. Israel has repeatedly attacked so-called 'safe zones', killing displaced men, women and children.

The evacuation order includes areas of both the Rafah and Karem Abu Salem crossings, which have been the key entry points for the limited aid allowed into Gaza for seven months. No alternative plan has been presented for how aid will be able to enter, and certainly not at the levels needed, if these crossings are disrupted.

Rafah’s main hospital, the Abu Yousuf Najjar Hospital, which is currently only partially functioning, is also in the areas ordered to evacuate. Patients and healthcare workers forced to leave must be urgently protected.

The international community knows that this invasion will be a catastrophe. The killing of civilians will accelerate and much more of Gaza's remaining infrastructure will be destroyed. The meagre humanitarian aid reaching people will be severely disrupted, just days after the head of the World Food Programme assessed that northern Gaza is experiencing "full blown famine" that is "moving its way south".

The UK and other governments allied with Israel must work urgently to stop this assault from going ahead, avert a further humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and attain a permanent ceasefire. This should include immediately suspending arms transfers to Israel to prevent these from being used to commit further atrocities in Rafah.

History will judge all of those who are complicit in what is being done to Palestinians in Gaza. It must end now.

Email your MP now to demand the UK government does everything it can to stop the invasion of Rafah and avert a further health and humanitarian catastrophe.


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