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U.S. reiterates call for Israel to seek alternative to operation in Rafah

Anadolu Agency MIDDLE EAST
Published May 29,2024
Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood addresses members of the United Nations Security Council during a meeting on the situation in Middle East and Palestine, at the United Nations headquarters in New York, U.S., May 29, 2024. (REUTERS)

The U.S. on Wednesday reiterated its call for Israel to find an alternative to its operation in the southern Gazan city of Rafah.

"We continue to believe there are alternatives to a major operation that would better advance Israel's goal of the enduring defeat of Hamas, and also protect innocent Palestinians," U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to UN Robert Wood said at a UN Security Council session on Palestine.

Noting the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) latest ruling that ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt operation in Rafah, Wood said the ruling "echoes the U.S. position that Israel must avoid a major military operation in the heart of Rafah that would put huge numbers of civilians at risk."

He expressed concern about the limited amount of aid flowing into Gaza.

Wood urged Israel to "remove all barriers to the flow of aid at scale through all crossings and routes. More must be done to ensure more aid is getting into Gaza through all routes and is able to be safely distributed to those in need throughout Gaza."

He also urged Israel to synchronize military efforts in Gaza with a political strategy to ensure the lasting defeat of Hamas, release of hostages and foster a better future for the Palestinian people.

He warned that "the continued pattern of significant civilian harm resulting from incidents like Sunday's airstrikes undermines Israel's strategic goals in Gaza."

The strike on a tent camp housing displaced Palestinians in Rafah killed at least 45 civilians, mostly women and children, and injured 300 others. It has drawn global condemnation.