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EU urges Israel to end Rafah operation ‘immediately’

AFP – The European Union (EU) on Wednesday urged Israel to end its military operation in Gaza’s Rafah “immediately”, warning that failure to do so would undermine ties with the bloc.

“Should Israel continue its military operation in Rafah, it would inevitably put a heavy strain on the EU’s relationship with Israel,” said the statement issued in the EU’s name by its foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

“The EU urges Israel to end its military operation in Rafah immediately,” the statement said, warning it was “further disrupting the distribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza and is leading to more internal displacement, exposure to famine and human suffering”.

Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah. PHOTO: XINHUA

The bloc – the main aid donor for the Palestinian territories and Israel’s biggest trading partner – said more than a million people in and around Rafah had been ordered by Israel to flee the area to other zones the UN says cannot be considered safe.

“While the EU recognises Israel’s right to defend itself, Israel must do so in line with International Humanitarian Law and provide safety to civilians,” it said.

The law requires Israel to allow in humanitarian aid, the statement stressed.

The Zionist regime’s military has conducted a relentless bombardment from the air and a ground offensive inside Gaza that has killed more than 35,000, mostly civilians, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Israel’s main allies, the United States and the EU, as well as the United Nations, have all warned the Zionist regime against a major operation in Rafah given that it would add to the civilian toll.