NST Leader: Rafah raid

Rafah is supposed to have been the last refuge for Gazans. Now Israel is telling them to leave Rafah, too. Where will they go?

Being a town bordering Egypt, the obvious answer from Tel Aviv is Egypt, a plan that had been hatched by Benjamin Netanyahu long before the Oct 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

Not that his predecessors didn't plot one. They did with one variation: anywhere but Palestine, a land that they wanted to turn into "Greater Israel".

As Netanyahu's command to Egypt to take in the million Gazan refugees in Rafah went ignored, Netanyahu began airstrikes on Thursday. If that is not enough, he is now threatening to send in his troops to massacre the women and children like he has done since Oct 7.

He knows that there are more than a million unarmed civilians there, but to him they must vacate or die. It is a wonder that the International Criminal Court that rushed to issue a warrant of arrest against Russian President Vladimir Putin is not issuing a similar warrant against Netanyahu when the International Court of Justice had ruled recently that Israel is likely committing genocide. Geopolitics almost always shackles justice.

Our world is not one of law and order. The world's institutions, including legal ones, are designed by aggressors for aggressors.

Granted, international legal institutions take time to act — the arrest warrant against Putin is a shocking exception — but political ones such as the United Nations Security Council are more agile. Yet it has not lived up to its name.

Perhaps "Insecurity Council" is more reflective of its 78 years of errant behaviour. Occupied Gaza could have had a ceasefire in the first week of the Israeli invasion if the UNSC wanted it.

Look at the number of times the veto-wielding United States had stood in the way of one. This is one cause for the growing impunity of Netanyahu. Consider Israel's Rafah raid on Thursday.

To US President Joe Biden, as reported by AFP, Israeli actions are "over the top". But such words are certainly not enough to stop Netanyahu from either killing Palestinians or driving them out of Rafah.

Up to noon on Saturday, 44 people have been killed, reports The Guardian. As it often happens in places teeming with millions of civilians, the dead and injured are mostly women and children.

The UN, too, must shoulder much blame for not putting an end to Israeli impunity. The world body appears not to be listening to its own human rights chief Volker Turk, who is quoted by AFP as saying that Israel's "extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, amounts to a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and a war crime".

If this isn't bad, here is worse. On Sept 22, at the 78th UN General Assembly, Netanyahu showed a map of Israel that had incorporated Gaza and the West Bank, erasing Palestine forever. What did UNGA do? As almost always, nothing.

What is a map without "facts" on the ground? Here is how facts get manufactured by Israel. First airstrikes, next ground incursion and then illegal Jewish settlements. No, Hamas didn't start the Oct 7 Israeli "war". The Zionist colonial project of erasing Palestine did long before that.

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