Rafah, a city in the Gaza Strip with more than 1.3 million Palestinian residents, is currently facing an uncertain future. These residents were evacuated from other areas of Gaza and are now residing in Rafah, where they fear they may have nowhere else to go if Israel enters the city. Martin Griffiths, responsible for humanitarian issues at the United Nations, has warned that there is nowhere else to go for the citizens of Gaza and their essential needs such as protected spaces, food and health must be provided.
The operation in Rafah has been met with opposition from both the Biden administration and Arab countries. Officials in the Biden administration have stated that military action would be disastrous for these people and they do not support it. The Saudi Foreign Ministry has also come out against Israel’s intention to enter Rafah while the Jordanian Foreign Ministry has warned of the danger of the IDF entering Rafah.
The expected Israeli action in Rafah raises tensions between Israel and Egypt. Cairo has made it clear that any action without coordination will severely damage relations between the countries. Egypt has taken measures to prepare for the possibility that Palestinians would try to cross into Egypt including installing various technological measures such as cameras and sensors on their border with Gaza Strip. An Egyptian delegation arrived in Tel Aviv yesterday for talks with Israeli officials about the situation in Rafah while Hamas has replied to Egypt stating they are ready to defend Rafah and will not respond to Israeli threats without an agreement that would meet their demands.