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Israel-Hamas war: Rafah civilians won’t be ‘locked in’

The Israeli prime minister has promised that residents will be given time to leave Rafah before any military assault begins. German Chancellor Scholz questioned the high human cost of the war in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israeli forces would not move forward with an assault on Rafah without giving the Palestinians sheltering there an opportunity to leave.

“It’s not something we will do while keeping the population locked in place. In fact, we’ll do the very opposite, we will enable them to leave,” he said during a news conference in Jerusalem with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Netanyahu gave is approval last week for a military assault on Rafah, a city in the south of the Gaza Strip where more than a million Palestinians have taken shelter.

The German chancellor, who is on a two-day visit to the Middle East, warned that an Israeli assault on Rafah would make regional peace “very difficult.”

He called on Netanyahu to try other approaches in its war against Hamas without impacting Palestinian civilians.

“The longer the war lasts, the higher the number of civilian casualties rises, the more desperate the situation for the people of Gaza becomes, the more this begs the question, ‘No matter how important the goal, can it justify such high costs or are there other ways to achieve your goal?'” Scholz said.

The chancellor also called for a deal to free the hostages captured by Palestinian militants as part of a “longer-lasting cease-fire deal” between Israel and Hamas.

He also spoke about the need to provide comprehensive humanitarian aid to Gaza residents now that the war has crossed the five-month mark.

“We cannot stand by and watch Palestinians risk starvation. That’s not us. That is not what we stand for,” Scholz said.

Source: Dw

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