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Indonesia warns Rafah escalation 'ultimate crime against humanity'

Jakarta Post - May 10, 2024

Yvette Tanamal, Jakarta – The Israel military's assault on and seizure of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt has sparked outcry and fury from the international community, including Indonesia, which "strongly condemned" the move and warned that further escalation would result in "an ultimate crime against humanity".

Dozens of countries have come forward in the past few days to denounce Israel's decision to launch a military operation in Rafah, while a wave of public protests have erupted around the world demanding Israel's immediate withdrawal from Gaza's southernmost city.

The Foreign Ministry reiterated Indonesia's call for a permanent cease-fire and urged the United Nations Security Council to "stop Israel's brutal atrocities immediately".

"Any attempt at a forced transfer or displacement of Palestinians including from Rafah is unacceptable, as it amounts to an ultimate crime against humanity," the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday in a statement.

"Indonesia reiterates its call for an immediate and permanent cease-fire in Gaza and the removal of all impediments to the delivery of humanitarian assistance," the statement continued.

"The international community, particularly the Security Council, must stop Israel's brutal atrocities immediately and prevent any further humanitarian catastrophe".

On Tuesday, Israeli forces launched air strikes on the Rafah border crossing, where some 1.4 million displaced Palestinians have been living in shelters and makeshift camps.

The attack, which the Israel Defense Forces said were launched against "Hamas terror targets", came despite repeated warnings by the international community that a military operation on Rafah would cause further devastation and amount to a genocidal act.

Rafah was among the few places that were spared from previous Israeli attacks, and is a highly critical gateway for humanitarian aid getting into the besieged enclave

Entering the eighth month of the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas, more than 34,000 people have died or been killed in Gaza, mostly women and children according to Hamas.

The toll is expected to rise swiftly following Tuesday's attack on Rafah.

United States President Joe Biden said on Wednesday in a CNN interview that Washington would withhold its arms supply to Israel if it pushed ahead with its long-threatened major Rafah ground offensive, AFP reported.

It was the starkest warning yet from Israel's main ally over the civilian toll of its war against Hamas.

Israel's UN envoy said on Thursday that Biden's remark was "very disappointing".

Several witnesses and an AFP correspondent reported on Thursday that strikes had hit several parts of Rafah.

The Hamas-run health ministry reported on Thursday at least 60 more deaths over the previous 24 hours.

Some 80,000 people have also attempted to flee Rafah, despite little chance of finding safety elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian territory, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

"The toll on these families is unbearable. Nowhere is safe," the UNRWA said in a statement on X.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who launched the attack on Rafah despite widespread opposition, including from the US, had earlier rejected a Gaza cease-fire deal mediated by Qatar and Egypt that Hamas had accepted.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Israel had launched its attack on Rafah despite EU and US warnings, and warned the move could cause many "civilian casualties".

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had appealed to Israel and Hamas to spare no effort to agree to a truce, Reuters reported.

"Make no mistake: a full-scale assault on Rafah would be a human catastrophe," Guterres said.

Source: https://asianews.network/indonesia-warns-rafah-escalation-ultimate-crime-against-humanity