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The Morgan PawPrint

The Student News Site of The Morgan School

The Morgan PawPrint

The Student News Site of The Morgan School

The Morgan PawPrint

Updates: Middle-East/Palestine

Rafah, U.S Involvement
Aasiya Bajwa
Location of Israel and Palestine

Rafah city is located between the Gaza Strip in the State of Palestine and Egypt. Palestinians who have been victims of the attacks in Gaza sought refuge further south, where Israel forces and the Israeli government promised safety a multitude of times. Rafah is currently one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with 1.4 Palestinian refugees seeking protection for their families and themselves. It was already one of the most densely populated parts of Gaza, with approximately 275,000 people living in Rafah. Omar Rahman in the Middle East Council for Global Affairs told Al Jazeera (What’s behind Israel’s threat to attack Rafah? By Mat Nashed, Feb 16, 2024) that the operation on Rafah is proof that the Israeli attacks on Gaza are against the entirety of Palestinians, and not just Hamas.

Egypt’s Stance on Rafah Operation

The president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi shared his stance on the Palestinian refugees near the Egyptian border. He said that opening their borders to the refugees would end the Palestinian cause and threaten Egypt’s national security. Although there is another method to transport refugees into Egypt by private bus companies, it is at a hefty cost of about $5,000. He makes clear that the country’s diplomatic relations with Israel will be in turmoil if there is no ceasefire to prioritize humanitarian aid in Rafah. He warns Israel’s government that the 40-year-old Camp David Peace Accord will be jeopardized if they decide to expel the Palestinians from Gaza.

According to Al Jazeera (What’s happening in Gaza’s Rafah as Israel threatens to attack? By Al Jazeera Staff, Feb 11, 2024), the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, confirmed the operation on Rafah would guarantee “total victory.” He said that the displaced Palestinians will be moved north to Khan Younis, a city located in the southern Gaza Strip (Israels war on Gaza updates: No victory without Rafah operation – Netanyahu By Federica Marsi and Usaid Siddiqui, Feb 17, 2024). Other sources said any location for refuge is undetermined, or not confirmed yet. However, there is no actual refuge or safe place in Palestine because the infrastructures are beyond repair, and attacks are constantly carried out.

Rafah is in Devastating Condition

Israel is killing more than 100 Palestinians in Rafah each day by air attacks. Despite the circumstances, many refuse to move to another place because they have been displaced as a result of events like the Nakba, and know they would not be able to return to Palestine because they would be intercepted by Israel first. They believe there is no place left to flee to, which is unfortunately true. As Netanyahu insists on eradicating Hamas, the U.S. said putting the civilians first and foremost with a meticulous plan is what Netanyahu should do before hastily enacting an operation in Rafah. Ironically, the U.S. continues to send aid and support to Israel’s military and country.

Rafah’s condition is declining rapidly as aid at the borders are cut off by Israel, and February 29’s death stampede emphasized the people’s desperation for humanitarian aid. A 10-year-old boy was photographed in southern Gaza, and his frame emphasizes the outrageous positions people of all ages are put in as a result of this “war”. As a result of overcrowding, disease is spreading rapidly. Health officials in the city report outbreaks of hepatitis A, and they warn of widespread famine (What’s behind Israel’s threat to attack Rafah? By Mat Nashed, Feb 16, 2024).

U.S. Attacks on the Middle East

On February 2, the U.S. military sent about 85 bombs in airstrikes on Iraq and Syria, targeting Iranian militants. This was the response to the death of 3 U.S. soldiers killed by the drone attack in Jordan, located south of Syria and west of Iraq. Most of the deaths in the Middle-East, however, are civilians (40-60 as of the week of the attack, but still counting). The U.S. and UK have also been conducting strikes in the Republic of Yemen for the past month. On January 12, the U.S. sent about 35 strikes on Houthi locations. Similar attacks have been happening in Yemen, around 400 in the past 2 decades. The Houthi bases are located in and near cities, resulting in civilian deaths. The exact death toll is obscure as there is little coverage of the Middle-East. U.S. President Joe Biden said these attacks will continue as retaliation.

“We do not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else, but attacks on American forces will not be tolerated, and we will continue to take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our forces, and our interests.”

— Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin (Pentagon Press)

“The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.”

— U.S. President Joseph Biden

Other Key Events

  • The death of Hind Rajab, a 5-year-old Palestinian girl, made international headlines. She was trapped for 12 days in a car surrounded by the bodies of her deceased family members who were killed by Israeli forces. For hours, she pleaded for help from the Palestinian Red Cross on a phone call that was released by them. She was the only one left alive in the car. The plea was cut short just as gunshots were heard on the other line. A few days later, paramedics found her dead body among the rest of her family members inside a car that showed clear signs of bomb shelling and gunshots. A few meters away was the Red Crescent ambulance sent to retrieve her, the 2 members dead inside.
  • The United Nations International Court of Justice held a hearing from February 19 to the 21st discussing the legal consequences for the numerous peace violations committed during the past 4 months, mainly about the illegal occupation of the West Bank, the larger of the Palestinian territories that borders the Dead Sea. 52 countries including the United States, Israel, South Africa, Russia, and China presented their arguments.
  • Cross-border fire between Israel and Hezbollah have severely intensified. Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, says the bomb shelling along the Lebanon border will only send when Israels aggression on Gaza stops.
  • Groups of Israeli protestors blocked aid trucks attempting to pass through. They blocked the roads in Kareem Shalom, the only functioning border to Gaza, forcing the trucks to halt.
  • Protests are erupting across the U.S., one of which occurred in Los Angeles that temporarily stopped the Oscars Red Carpet. Traffic was delayed, disrupting the arrival of celebrities and influencers. The protestors were calling for an immediate cease-fire. Many protests are occurring during televised national events.
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About the Contributors
Vivian Nguyen
Vivian Nguyen, Public Relations Editor
Hello, my name is Vivian Nguyen, and I am a sophomore for the class of 2026. This is my first year taking Journalism, and I am looking forward to collaborating with friends and classmates to construct satisfactory articles. My major interests right now are the sciences, reading, and making jewelry. I am with much anticipation hoping to engage and be involved in Morgan this year.
Aasiya Bajwa
Aasiya Bajwa, Reporter, Editor, Photographer
Hi, my name is Aasiya. I am a sophomore. This is my first year in Journalism. I look forward to writing and publishing this year.

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