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Poland Expresses 'Grave' Concerns Over Planned Israeli Offensive In Rafah

18.04.2024 23:42

Poland to support UN broad based efforts to stabilize Middle East, deliver humanitarian assistance to region, deputy foreign minister tells UN Security Council.

Poland on Thursday expressed "grave" concerns over Israeli intention to launch a ground operation in Rafah, a southern Gaza Strip city packed with nearly 1.5 million displaced Palestinians.

"We express our grave concerns regarding Israeli military activities in the vicinity of Rafah where the civilian population has taken shelter. These civilians are at the risk of being forced towards Egypt, the only direction available," Andrzej Szejna, Poland's deputy foreign minister, told a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

The Israeli army has unveiled plans to invade Rafah, where more than 1.5 million people have taken refuge from Israel's ongoing war on the Palestinian enclave, despite opposition from several countries, including the US.

Israel's intended plans for the Rafah offensive have sounded international alarm bells, with many urging restraint or cancelation of the operation.

Touching on the current humanitarian crisis, Szejna noted: "Poland will remain committed to supporting the United Nations broad-based efforts to stabilize the Middle East and deliver humanitarian assistance to the region."

Szejna also slammed Israeli strikes on the World Central Kitchen convoy on April 1, which killed seven aid workers, including Damian Sobol, a Polish citizen and welcomed worldwide calls for an investigation and accountability.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7, 2023 cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

Nearly 34,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, and over 76,800 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza. -

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