Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has issued a stern warning to Israel over its plans to invade the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, saying that such a move would have “dire consequences” for Tel Aviv. He also blamed the United States for being “responsible” for the escalation of violence in the region, and called for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Rafah is a city in the south of the Gaza Strip, near the border with Egypt. It is home to more than 1.3 million Palestinians, most of whom are refugees or displaced from other parts of Gaza due to the Israeli military operations. Rafah is the last major population center in Gaza that is not under the control of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which have occupied most of the coastal enclave since the start of the war in October 2023.
Rafah matters because it is a lifeline for the besieged and impoverished people of Gaza, who rely on the city for access to basic goods and services, such as food, water, medicine, and electricity. Rafah also matters because it is a symbol of resistance and resilience for the Palestinians, who have endured decades of oppression and injustice under the Israeli occupation and blockade.
Israel’s Plan: What It Is and How It Was Announced
Israel’s plan is to invade and occupy Rafah, and to evacuate its population, as part of its military campaign to defeat Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza and that Israel considers a terrorist organization. Israel claims that Rafah is a stronghold of Hamas, and that it is used to launch rockets and tunnel attacks against Israel.
Israel’s plan was announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, who said that the IDF would “soon go into Rafah, Hamas’s last bastion.” He also said that he had instructed the IDF to prepare for the “evacuation of the population” from Rafah, along with the “destruction of Hamas’s infrastructure and capabilities.” Netanyahu’s announcement was met with outrage and condemnation by the Palestinians, the United Nations, and the international community, who warned of a humanitarian catastrophe and a violation of international law.
Iran’s Warning: What It Said and How It Was Delivered
Iran’s warning was a strong and clear message to Israel, and to the United States, that Iran would not stand idly by while Israel commits atrocities and crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza. Iran said that Israel’s plan to invade Rafah would have “dire consequences” for Tel Aviv, and that Iran would use all its means and influence to support the Palestinian cause and resistance.
Iran’s warning was delivered by Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Saturday, who spoke to his counterparts from Turkey, Qatar, and Pakistan, as well as the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the head of the political bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh. Amir-Abdollahian also blamed the United States for being “responsible” for the escalation of violence in the region, and for providing unconditional support and weapons to Israel. He called for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and urged the international community to take action to protect the rights and dignity of the Palestinians.