It is "unacceptable" that Israel goes ahead with a planned invasion of Rafah because such an operation would be devastating to Palestinians, Canada's Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said Monday.
Israel has warned around 1 million Palestinians to leave the area because of a planned invasion. Rafah is one of the last safe spots in Gaza. Israel conducted airstrikes on Rafah Monday and managed to free two Israeli hostages but during the operation, about 70 Palestinians were killed.
"I'm very concerned about what's going on in Gaza, in particular Rafah," Joly told reporters in Ottawa. "The operation would be devastating and is devastating to Palestinians and all those seeking refuge."
Palestinians have been uprooted from their homes as they flee Israeli attacks that began after Hamas killed 1,200 Israelis and took about 250 hostages on Oct. 7. Israel struck back with a vengeance and more than 27,000 Palestinians have been killed. An assault on Rafah would be crushing for Palestinians who have few if any places to go.
"What the (Benjamin) Netanyahu government (of Israel) is asking (Palestinians) to do, which is to leave again, is unacceptable," Joly said. "They have nowhere to go and so that's why we need right now for the violence to stop.
"We need a sustainable cease-fire. We need a hostage deal. Hostages must be released and humanitarian aid must go in."
Joly will be in Washington on Tuesday for talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Jordan's King Abdullah met with US President Joe Biden in Washington on Monday and is slated to visit Canada on Wednesday.
Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which said in an interim ruling that South Africa's claims in a case filed in December were plausible.
In its January ruling, the court ordered provisional measures for the Israeli government to desist from genocidal acts, and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.