Joe Biden has called on Benjamin Netanyahu to show restraint – but he is still too wary of alienating voters in an election year
Despite the pressure coming from the Biden administration, there is little sign of the Netanyahu government changing its plan to destroy Hamas – whatever the cost in death and destruction in Gaza.
The immediate risk is to the city of Rafah, where Israel is launching intensive airstrikes and planning a full ground offensive. Rafah and its immediate surroundings are sheltering about 1.5 million people, many of them in flimsy tents, while food and clean water are scarce and medical support is minimal. Warning of a ground assault, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Volker Türk, described it as “terrifying, given the prospect that an extremely high number of civilians, again mostly children and women, will likely be killed and injured”. On Monday, at least 67 Palestinians were killed in airstrikes on Rafah, which coincided with an Israeli mission to free two hostages.
Paul Rogers is emeritus professor of peace studies at Bradford University and an honorary fellow at the Joint Service Command and Staff College