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Tuesday, Apr 23rd

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You are here News Editorials Paul Rogers: The US could stop the horror in Rafah today. Why won’t it?

Paul Rogers: The US could stop the horror in Rafah today. Why won’t it?

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US could stop the horror in Gaza

Despite the pressure coming from the Biden administration, there is little sign of the Netanyahu government changing its plan to destroy Hamas – whatever the cost in death and destruction in Gaza.

The immediate risk is to the city of Rafah, where Israel is launching intensive airstrikes and planning a full ground offensive. Rafah and its immediate surroundings are sheltering about 1.5 million people, many of them in flimsy tents, while food and clean water are scarce and medical support is minimal.

Warning of a ground assault, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Volker Türk, described it as “terrifying, given the prospect that an extremely high number of civilians, again mostly children and women, will likely be killed and injured”. On Monday, at least 67 Palestinians were killed in airstrikes on Rafah, which coincided with an Israeli mission to free two hostages.

Further horror in Rafah could be averted if the United States stepped in. Israel is hugely dependent on US military support and could not continue the war for long without it. This raises two core questions: why is Israel determined to continue with a military operation that has the potential to cause appalling civilian casualties? And why won’t Joe Biden pull the plug?

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