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Israel Takes Control Of Gaza’s Crucial Rafah Crossing, Despite US Assurance Of No Full-Scale Invasion

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Israeli forces took control of Gaza’s crucial Rafah border crossing on Tuesday, with the White House characterizing it as a limited operation amidst escalating concerns about a potential full-scale invasion of the southern city. Simultaneously, negotiations with Hamas over a ceasefire and the release of hostages remain in a precarious state.

The United Nations sounded the alarm over the closure of the Rafah crossing from Egypt and the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel, warning of a potential collapse in aid flow to Palestinians, particularly in northern Gaza, where a severe famine is unfolding.

This move by Israel came after a tumultuous period in the seven-month-long Israel-Hamas conflict. Despite Hamas’ acceptance of a ceasefire proposal on Monday, Israel deemed it insufficient, highlighting the complexity of reaching a resolution that satisfies both parties’ core demands.

The ongoing diplomatic maneuvers and military actions offer a glimpse of hope for a potential ceasefire, desperately needed to mitigate the devastation wreaked upon Gaza, where over 34,700 Palestinians have lost their lives.

The Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings serve as vital lifelines for Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants, facilitating the entry of essential goods. With both crossings closed for at least two days, the situation exacerbates an already dire humanitarian crisis.

Israel’s seizure of the Rafah crossing grants it unprecedented control over the movement of people and goods, marking a significant development since its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. This move is perceived as a strategic step towards weakening Hamas’ military and administrative capabilities, with Israel signaling readiness to escalate its operation if hostage negotiations falter.

While Israel sees the operation as crucial for its security objectives, Hamas vows resistance against any form of occupation at the Rafah crossing, underscoring the entrenched conflict dynamics.

The White House reassured that Israel’s action along the Gaza-Egypt border was not a full-scale invasion, but rather a limited operation aimed at curbing Hamas’ arms smuggling activities. With optimism regarding ceasefire negotiations, the U.S. indicated its commitment to bridging remaining gaps between the conflicting parties.

The escalating violence forced the evacuation of medical facilities in Rafah, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. As tensions escalate, concerns mount over the widening gap between Israel and its staunch ally, the United States.

The U.S. decision to pause a bomb shipment to Israel underscores the delicate balance of maintaining support for Israel while advocating for humanitarian concerns. Amidst these challenges, the plight of Palestinians caught in the crossfire remains a pressing issue.

Despite initial hopes for a ceasefire, the situation remains precarious, with families fleeing violence and uncertainty gripping the region. As both sides dig in their heels, the path to a lasting peace seems increasingly elusive, prolonging the suffering of civilians on both sides of the conflict.

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