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Rafah Is Now a Concentration Camp; How Much Further Will Israel Be Allowed To Go?

The situation in Rafah is desperate. The IDF’s 401 Brigade took the Rafah border crossing and large areas of eastern Rafah. Israel ordered 100,000 civilians to evacuate to the coastal town of Al-Mawasi, but there are already 250,000 displaced people there with no infrastructure or services in an area of 1 kilometer by 14 kilometers. Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that this evacuation order itself is “inhumane” and could be a war crime.

Bushra Kalidi, advocacy director for Oxfam in the Palestinian territories, warned that if Netanyahu orders a full-scale assault on Rafah, as he has promised is coming, this would “entail mass carnage and a complete bloodbath.”

Late in the day on May 8, President Biden told CNN’s Erin Burnett that he had halted some shipments of American weapons to Israel, and that more would be halted if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders a major invasion of the city of Rafah. “Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers,” Biden admitted, referring to 2,000-pound bombs that Biden paused shipments of last week. “I made it clear that if they go into Rafah—they haven’t gone in Rafah yet—if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities—that deal with that problem.”

Biden was quick to add: “We’re not walking away from Israel’s security. We’re walking away from Israel’s ability to wage war in those areas.” He assured that the U.S. would continue to provide defensive weapons to Israel, including for its Iron Dome air defense system, even if Israel should begin a major ground invasion of Rafah.

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