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Netanyahu 'sowing false illusions' over Rafah offensive: Israel Minister

May 29, 2024 at 6:39 pm

Israeli War Cabinet Minister, Gadi Eisenkot speaks during a press conference in the central city of Ramat Gan on August 14, 202 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli War Cabinet Minister, Gadi Eisenkot, accused Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Wednesday of sowing false illusions about the ongoing military offensive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Anadolu Agency reports.

During the annual Meir Dagan conference at the Netanya Academic College, Eisenkot attacked Netanyahu “for creating and pushing the concept of ‘total victory’ against Hamas”.

“Anyone who says that we’ll disband a few battalions in Rafah and then bring back the hostages is sowing a false illusion,” he added in statements cited by The Times of Israel newspaper.

Netanyahu claims that his offensive in Rafah aims to dismantle what he calls the “four Hamas brigades” in the city and retrieve Israeli captives held by the Palestinian group.

Israel expanded its ground offensive in Rafah on Tuesday, with its tanks reaching the centre of the city.

Israel’s current expansion of its incursion into the city makes the Israeli army close to fully control the border area between Gaza and Egypt, known as the Philadelphi Corridor, a demilitarised buffer zone running along the Gaza-Egypt border.

Before the launch of the Israeli military operation against Rafah on 6 May, the city was home to over 1.5 million displaced Palestinians who fled their areas across the Gaza Strip due to the Israeli onslaught that started on 7 October, 2023, following a Hamas attack.

Israel has continued its brutal offensive on Gaza following a Hamas attack on 7 October, 2023, despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

More than 36,170 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, the vast majority being women and children, and over 81,400 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Nearly eight months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in its latest rulings has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on 6 May.

READ: Israel says Gaza war likely to last another seven months as tanks probe Rafah