Na ‘briefing’ before an audience of diplomats in Geneva (Switzerland), responsible for several leading humanitarian organizations — namely the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (the largest network of the world), Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and United Nations agencies — refuted responsibility for the growing number of victims, pointing out that they cannot do more, given the way Israel is conducting military operations in the Gaza Strip, territory controlled by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas since 2007.

All those responsible were unanimous in warning of even more catastrophic consequences if the announced “powerful” ground operation by the Israeli army in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, near the border with Egypt, which is currently home to around 1.5 millions of Palestinians.

“We are reaching the limits of language to describe the humanitarian situation,” said ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric, who reminded diplomatic representatives at the UN and other international organizations in Geneva of the responsibility of their respective countries to ensure respect for the Conventions of Geneva — which regulate the conduct of wars and draw the so-called “red lines”, which have already been exceeded several times in the ongoing conflict.

“It is not in your interest to transfer this responsibility to humanitarian actors. If the way operations are currently conducted reduces our means of action to a minimum, we cannot solve the problem. There is no point in criticizing humanitarian actors for not doing enough They must allow us to do more”, he declared, quoted by the French news agency France-Presse (AFP).

Also, the secretary general of the MSF organization, Christopher Lockyear, emphasized that currently talking about humanitarian aid is “talking about an illusion of aid”, a position corroborated by the head of humanitarian assistance at the United Nations, Martin Griffiths, who urged diplomats to “not imagine that the humanitarian community can act as a rescue brigade”, as this is not the case, as “conditions simply do not allow it”, he said, also quoted by AFP.

Still insisting that, contrary to what Israel claims, “the evacuation to a safe place in Gaza is an illusion”, as there are no safe places, this UN official once again warned of the risk of a real “massacre” if the major land offensive in Rafah goes ahead, as the Palestinians no longer have a place to take refuge and panic could spread to Egypt.

“We have to be completely realistic. It’s a nightmare that is right before our eyes,” he warned.

Despite growing international pressure and the Palestinian death toll continuing to rise – it exceeds 28,000, according to data provided by Gaza authorities – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning an attack on Rafah, having promised on Wednesday a “powerful operation”.

Tel Aviv promised to destroy the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, following the group’s attack on October 7 in southern Israel, which caused around 1,200 deaths, most of them civilians, according to a count by the France-Presse agency, based on official Israeli data.

In retaliation for the October 7 attack, Israel launched a military offensive against the Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian enclave with around 2.3 million inhabitants.

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