Jordan’s King Abdullah warns of dangers of Israel’s planned Rafah assault

Jordan’s King Abdullah warns of dangers of Israel’s planned Rafah assault
Jordan’s King Abdullah warns of dangers of Israel’s planned Rafah assault

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Palestinians visit a cemetery, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, February 26, 2024. — Reuters pic

AMMAN, Feb 27 — Jordan’s King Abdullah warned yesterday of the dangers of a planned Israeli military operation in Rafah, Gaza, and reiterated his appeal for an immediate ceasefire to protect civilians and bring in aid, the royal palace said.

The king also said the only way to end the decades-old conflict was to find a “political horizon” for Palestinians that would create a Palestinian state on territory Israel occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, including east Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week the Israeli security cabinet would approve military plans for Rafah — including evacuating more than a million displaced Palestinian civilians who have been sheltering there, and whose fate worries world powers. Israel did not give more details on evacuation plans, and Palestinians say the assault would lead to heavy civilian casualties.

Israel has killed almost 30,000 Palestinians in the war, Gaza medical officials say. The Hamas raid of October 7 killed 1,200 people in Israel, which has also lost 241 soldiers in Gaza ground fighting that followed, according to official tallies.

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The monarch also expressed worry about Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank which Washington and several European states have condemned.

Abdullah echoed worries about a new cycle of violence during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan next month where Israel has said it will restrict the number of Palestinian worshippers at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque.

The Jordanian army also arranged yesterday the biggest air drop operation so far to deliver aid to Gaza where the mostly displaced population of 2.3 million is facing crisis levels of hunger, an army statement said.

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The monarch himself participated in an airdrop of humanitarian aid to Gaza this month, in a move highlighting his kingdom’s role in spearheading an international campaign to speed aid flows into the war-torn enclave.

Yesterday’s operation deployed four C-130 planes including one belonging to the French air force, army spokesperson Brigadier General Mustafa Hiyari said.

Aid was dropped to 11 sites along the Gaza coast from its northern edge to the south for civilians to collect, Hiyari told Reuters.

Previous air drops that parachuted in medicines and humanitarian provisions were sent to hospitals the Jordanian army runs in Gaza.

The army planned in coming days to expand air drops in participation with other countries, Hiyari said adding that yesterday both Qatar and the UAE joined alongside Britain in providing the humanitarian aid deliveries.

“Intensifying the air drops is a result of the worsening humanitarian conditions of the civilian population of Gaza that threatens famine and hunger,” Hiyari said. — Reuters

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