Rafah offensive will influence prisoner transfer talks, Hamas says.

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GAZA STRIP: Rafah, the southernmost town in Gaza, remains under threat from Israel. However, Hamas cautioned Tel Aviv that an Israeli attack on the city, which is home to many displaced Palestinians, would jeopardize negotiations regarding the release of prisoners.

A Palestinian organization leader told AFP that “any attack by the enemy’s army on the city of Rafah would damage the exchange negotiations,” despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assurances of “safe passage” to the displaced population in Rafah.

Mr. Netanyahu reaffirmed in an interview that Israel will continue its military campaign toward Hamas into Rafah.

He told ABC News that “we’re going to do it” in spite of worldwide concern over the possibility of bloodshed in an area where over half of the 2.4 million residents of the Gaza Strip are concentrated.

 IMF claims Palestinian economy is “devastating” due to fighting; over 90 people killed in nighttime strikes

World leaders voiced their concerns in unison after Mr. Netanyahu’s announcement.

Annalena Baerbock German Foreign Minister stated on social media site X that an Israeli attack on Rafah would be a “humanitarian catastrophe in the making” and that “the people in Gaza cannot vanish into thin air.”

The UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron expressed his “deep concern” over the potential offensive, while Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry issued a warning on Saturday about the “very serious repercussions of storming and targeting” Rafah and demanded an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council.

In his letter, he stated that “the focus must be an immediate pause in battle to get aid in and hostages out.”

The US State Department has cautioned that such an operation runs the danger of “disaster” if not properly planned.

The action is “a blatant violation of all red lines” and “threatens security and peace in the region and the world,” according to the office of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.

The health ministry of the Hamas-run enclave reported on Sunday said 94 people had died in nighttime bombardments within Gaza, including Rafah.

In a raid on Rafah on Saturday, the Israeli military claimed to have killed two “senior Hamas operatives.”

As per the health ministry administered by Hamas, it was a part of a larger bombardment that claimed the lives of at least twenty-five persons in the city.

Palestinian financial system

The head of the International Monetary Fund declared that only “durable peace” will alleviate the situation, citing the conflict’s devastating effects on the economy of the occupied West Bank and the beleaguered Gaza Strip.

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director, stated at the World Governments Summit in Dubai that “the Palestinian economy’s dire outlook is worsening as the conflict persists.”

The only thing that will genuinely alter it is a long-lasting peace and a political solution.
“The conflict has had a devastating impact on the economy,” Ms. Georgieva stated.

According to the IMF president, economic activity in the war-torn coastal area fell by 80% between October and December of last year as compared to the same period the previous year.

She said that the decline in the West Bank was 22 percent.

Israel’s removal of 130,000 work licenses, the increasing number of checkpoints that severely impede traffic, the decline in tourism, the cutting off of Gaza, and the withholding of tax payments by Israel on the Palestinian Authority have all had a significant negative impact on the greater Palestinian area.

Approximately 1,160 individuals lost their lives in October as a result of Hamas’s catastrophic strike. As reported by the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory, Israel pledged to eliminate the group and launched airstrikes and a ground invasion that had killed at least 28,176 individuals, predominantly women and children.

According to the head of the IMF, the violence has affected neighboring nations like Egypt and Lebanon as well as the Palestinian territories.

As for the Houthi rebels in Yemen, they allege that their attacks on commercial vessels are in support of the Palestinians in Gaza. According to Ms. Georgieva, this has resulted in “rising freight expenses and decreased Red Sea transit volumes (that are) fallen by almost fifty percent this year.”

SOURCE: DAWN NEWS

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