13 Countries Sign Joint Letter Warning Israel against Major Offensive in Rafah

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BERLIN – More than a dozen countries have sent a joint letter to Israel, warning against a major ground offensive in Gaza’s southernmost city Rafah, according to media reports on Friday.

The joint letter, signed by the foreign ministers of 13 countries, including major economies and democracies, was sent to the Israeli government on Wednesday, also demanding it allow unhindered humanitarian access to the besieged Palestinian territory.

It was signed by G7 nations Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and the UK, as well as Australia, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, and Sweden, German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung reported.

In the four-page letter, the ministers reaffirmed their support for Israel’s right to self-defense against Palestinian group Hamas, but also warned against a large-scale military offensive on Rafah, stressing that this would have “catastrophic” consequences on civilians.

They also underlined that the Israeli government must do everything in its power to alleviate the devastating and worsening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. The ministers demanded that Israel open all border crossings, including the Rafah crossing, to ensure the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians.

The letter also asked Israeli authorities to allow access of international aid organizations, as well as the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, ensure the safety of aid workers and international personnel, and grant sufficient permits for local truck drivers. -AA

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