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Updated May 28, 2024, 10:04am EDT
Middle East
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Semafor Signals

Global pressure against Israel mounts as it bombards Rafah

Insights from Haaretz, The National, Reuters, and the Financial Times

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Palestinians travel in a donkey-drawn cart loaded with their belongings as they flee Rafah due to an Israeli military operation, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 28, 2024. REUTERS/Hatem Khaled
Hatem Khaled/Reuters
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The News

Global diplomatic pressure on Israel to halt its onslaught in Rafah mounted as Israeli forces persisted in bombarding the southern Gaza city, entering its central quarters for the first time on Tuesday.

Over the weekend Israeli strikes killed dozens of people at a Rafah displaced-persons camp, intensifying international outrage against the country’s increasingly isolated government. On Tuesday Ireland, Norway, and Spain formally recognized the state of Palestine, with several other European nations mulling similar moves. Meanwhile, the UN Security Council is set to debate the Sunday Rafah attack, which Israel’s prime minister called a “tragic accident.”

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SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Civilian deaths could push Israel into a ceasefire deal

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Sources:  
Haaretz, The National

The civilian deaths in Rafah could force Israel into a ceasefire with Hamas even without a hostage deal, Haaretz military analyst Amos Harel noted. However, Qatar, a mediator in presently stalled truce negotiations, has warned the strikes could hamper discussions about the nearly eight-month war’s end. Cairo, another instrumental truce mediator, has said it will keep working on the talks even as Israeli-Egyptian ties have plummeted after the death of an Egyptian soldier along the border, The National reported.

Israel argues ICJ ruling not a blanket prohibition

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Source:  
Financial Times

The International Court of Justice on Friday ordered Israel to immediately halt its operations in Rafah in a landmark emergency ruling. But Israel argues that the order does not apply to it: Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi told local media that the ICJ order calls for Israel to not commit genocide in Rafah and claimed the ruling therefore did not prevent it from operating in the city. “We did not commit genocide and we will not commit genocide,” Hanegbi said. “According to international law, we have the right to defend ourselves and the evidence is that the court is not preventing us from continuing to defend ourselves.”

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