Following meetings of the war cabinet and security cabinet last night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated, in a statement today, that the 1.5 million Palestinians that have been crowded into Rafah along the border with Egypt will be evacuated ahead of an Israeli assault on the town. According to the Times of Israel, Netanyahu said he has instructed the IDF and defense establishment to present the cabinet with plans for both the evacuation of the Palestinian civilian population from the southern Gaza Strip, and the dismantlement of Hamas’s battalions in the Rafah area.
“It is impossible to achieve the war goal of eliminating Hamas and leaving four Hamas battalions in Rafah,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement. “On the other hand, it is clear that a massive operation in Rafah requires the evacuation of the civilian population from the combat zones,” it adds. Where the Palestinians in Rafah, most of whom have been displaced from their homes elsewhere in Gaza and suffering from lack of sufficient shelter, food, water, medical care and basic hygiene, are supposed to go, is not explained.