Egyptian convoy at the Rafah border (Picture: Gigi Ibrahim)

Retired war general and member of Israel’s war cabinet Benny Gantz has said the Zionist forces will unleash a ground offensive on Rafah by 10 March—the start of Ramadan. Gantz added that the operation will be coordinated with US and Egyptian partners to “minimise the civilian casualties as much as possible”. If Gantz is telling the truth it means a countdown to slaughter—and starving and murdering Palestinians in Rafah in the meantime.

The plans for this ground assault on Rafah are about one thing— killing as many Palestinians as possible and attempting to force the rest out through the Rafah crossing. Meanwhile there are reports the Egyptian state has begun constructing a walled camp in the Sinai Peninsula to receive displaced Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. The Wall Street Journal said an eight-square-mile “walled enclosure” was under construction on the Egyptian side of the border.

Already Israeli forces are besieging Palestinians in Rafah from the air and from the sea. The Israeli navy has fired at tents of those sheltering in the western part of Rafah, wounding many people. And Israeli forces have not let up in their attacks across the rest of Gaza either.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said that last Sunday night, Israel killed almost 150 people. Journalist Maram Humaid tweeted on Sunday last week, “While eyes are on Rafah, it’s been hell in Deir Al Balah and central Gaza since yesterday. Ambulances didn’t stop evacuating injured and killed.”

Israeli air and artillery strikes killed more than 70 people in the Nuseirat refugee camp near Deir al-Balah city—most of them children. The Zionist forces also fired on hundreds of Palestinians who were running to get food that the UN had delivered in Gaza City on Monday. Across Gaza nearly one in three people are drinking contaminated water according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (Unrwa)

In its latest report Unrwa said that the number of aid trucks that Israel allows into Gaza is still much less than needed. It stated that over half of the missions planned by the agency and its humanitarian partners in the north of Gaza were denied by the Israeli authorities. Now Palestinians are starving.

In desperation many are having to eat animal feed to survive. A Palestinian man told Al Jazeera website, “They came here to find something, at least some flour. People put themselves and their lives in danger for little things for their families. We’re below zero, there’s nothing, I assure you that people will die of hunger. People now go to the garbage to find something to eat.”

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