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Int’l Pressure Mounts on Israel Over Potential Ground Offensive in Rafah

Berlin, May 18: In a significant diplomatic move, more than a dozen countries have jointly urged Israel to reconsider a planned major ground offensive in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah. The appeal, detailed in a joint letter sent to the Israeli government on Wednesday, calls for the cessation of military actions that could exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the region.

The letter, signed by the foreign ministers of 13 countries – including prominent G7 nations such as Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and the UK – demands that Israel allow unhindered humanitarian access to the besieged Palestinian territory. Other signatories include Australia, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, and Sweden, according to a report by the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

In their four-page letter, the ministers expressed their support for Israel’s right to self-defense against the Palestinian group Hamas. However, they cautioned that a large-scale military offensive in Rafah would have “catastrophic” consequences for civilians. The ministers emphasized the urgent need for Israel to mitigate the worsening humanitarian conditions in Gaza.

The letter calls on Israel to open all border crossings, including the Rafah crossing, to facilitate the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians. Additionally, the ministers requested that Israeli authorities permit access for international aid organizations, including the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), ensure the safety of aid workers, and grant sufficient permits for local truck drivers.

This appeal highlights the international community’s growing concern over the humanitarian situation in Gaza and underscores the pressure on Israel to balance its security needs with humanitarian obligations.

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