RIYADH - Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry warned Saturday of “very serious repercussions of storming and targeting” the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. “The Kingdom affirms its categorical rejection and strong condemnation of their forcible deportation, and renews its demand for an immediate ceasefire,” the ministry said in a statement. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has directed Israel’s military to plan for the “evacuation of the population” from Rafah, meaning an estimated 1.3 million people, many of whom were already displaced from other parts of the enclave and say they have nowhere to go. The Saudi ministry said targeting Rafah amounts to a violation of international law and “confirms the need for an urgent convening of the UN Security Council to prevent Israel from causing an imminent humanitarian disaster.”
QATAR CONDEMNS ISRAEL’S PLAN TO LAUNCH OFFENSIVE IN RAFAH
Qatar on Sunday condemned “in the strongest terms” Israel’s plans for a ground offensive in the city of Rafah, urging the UN’s Security Council to “prevent” Israel from committing what it described as “genocide.” Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned of “a humanitarian catastrophe in the city that has become a last refuge for hundreds of thousands of displaced people inside the besieged Strip,” in a statement on its website. The Gulf nation called on the Security Council “to take urgent action to prevent the Israeli occupation forces from invading Rafah and committing genocide, and to provide full protection to civilians under international law and international humanitarian law,” the statement read. The ministry said it “affirms Qatar’s categorical rejection of attempts to forcibly displace the Palestinian people from Gaza Strip.”
Qatar has been a key player in talks between Israel and Hamas, mediating a potential truce agreement between the two sides involving the release of hostages. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has directed the country’s military to plan for the evacuation of the more than 1 million people living in Rafah, his office said in a statement on Friday, ahead of an anticipated ground assault on the southern Gaza city.