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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Israelis spurn peace to pound Rafah!

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

Israeli warplanes are pounding the city of Rafah as their tanks move into the southern Gaza Strip following the rejection of an American-inspired ceasefire plan that Hamas accepted on Monday. Health workers in northern Gaza have found more evidence of Israeli atrocities with the discovery of yet another mass grave at Shifa Hospital. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres calls on the Israelis to stop further escalation and engage in the ongoing ceasefire talks and the Americans feebly respond to the mass student protests in support of the Palestinians with a pause in the delivery of some offensive weapons to the Zionist entity.

This week senior Hamas leader Osama Hamdan called on the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to take an immediate and effective stance to stop this violation and compel the occupation to halt its aggression against the Palestinian people.

“Netanyahu and his Nazi government must understand that the movement and the Palestinian resistance will not respond to any initiative to stop the aggression or any prisoner exchange deal under military pressure and escalation of aggression, and that these illusions will vanish into thin air,” the Hamas leader said.

“We call on the United Nations and the international community to pressure the occupation to stop this escalation that threatens the lives of hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians in Rafah and across the Gaza Strip, as well as threatens all efforts by mediators to stop the aggression and genocide.

“We assert that the military operation in Rafah, if pursued by the enemy, will not be a walk in the park for the terrorist occupation army, which will ultimately drag its tail in failure and exit humiliated as it did in all areas it entered in the Gaza Strip, where it was humiliated by the hands of the fighters of the Al-Qassam Brigades, Saraya Al-Quds, and the Palestinian resistance.”

At the UN, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “disturbed and distressed” at the news that Israel had closed the Gaza border with Egypt. “The closure of both the Rafah and Karem Shalom crossings is especially damaging to an already dire humanitarian situation. They must be re-opened immediately,” he said. About 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering in Rafah, the city the Israelis had previously designated a “safe zone”. Now the Zionists are dropping leaflets ordering them to leave.

The UN chief further warned Israel that an assault on Rafah would “be a strategic mistake, a political calamity, and a humanitarian nightmare”. He called on Israel “to stop any escalation, and engage constructively in the ongoing diplomatic talks”, stressing that “civilians have suffered enough death and destruction” since the war began in early October last year. “Make no mistake – a fullscale assault on Rafah will be a human catastrophe,” Guterres said.

In Gaza, Palestinian medical teams have uncovered a new mass grave. They’ve so far recovered 49 bodies in the Shifa hospital complex and efforts are still underway to search for more. This was the third mass grave discovered inside the hospital, according to Motassem Salah, head of the emergency department at Shifa. Salah said several of the bodies had decomposed.

Around 30 bodies were recovered from two other mass graves in the courtyard of Shifa Hospital last month. The Israelis killed hundreds of Palestinians and left their bodies to decompose during their two-week siege of the medical complex in March. At least seven mass graves have been found in hospitals across the besieged territory since the regime started its brutal campaign on the Gaza Strip in early October.