US reiterates “ironclad” support to Israel as Netanyahu launches assault on Rafah

Israel launched its long-planned genocidal assault on Rafah on Monday, issuing orders for the population of the city to evacuate and launching an intense bombardment.

More than 1.2 million refugees, over 600,000 of whom are children, are currently sheltering in Rafah, under squalid conditions, without adequate food, water, hygiene or medicine. The majority of the children, in the words of the Euro-Med monitor, are “either injured, ill, and/or malnourished.”

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike on buildings near the separating wall between Egypt and Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, May 6, 2024. (AP Photo/Ramez Habboub)

Israel bombed residential homes throughout Gaza Monday, leaving at least 26 people dead—mostly women and children—and dozens more wounded and buried under the rubble. Israeli tanks have approached within 200 meters of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, the Associated Press reported.

“The War Cabinet unanimously decided this evening that Israel will continue its operation in Rafah,” the Netanyahu government said in a statement Monday.

The assault on Rafah comes despite the acceptance by Hamas Monday of a proposal for a temporary cessation of hostilities in exchange for the release of hostages. But after spending weeks attempting to blame the Palestinians for the ongoing war, Israeli officials flatly rejected the proposal.

National Security Minister Ben-Gvir replied in a post on X, “Hamas’ exercises and games have only one answer: an immediate order to occupy Rafah!”

In response to the murderous Israeli onslaught, multiple US officials reiterated their unlimited support for Israel. “We have always made clear that we are committed to Israel’s defense,” said State Department spokesman Vedant Patel on Monday. “That commitment to Israel’s security remains ironclad.”

“Our support for Israel’s security remains ironclad,” said State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. “The President pushed very hard … so that we can continue to help Israel with its security needs…”

“Israel has a right and a responsibility to defend itself,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. “And we’re going to continue to provide for their security.”

Absurdly, Kirby denied that an assault on Rafah had begun, declaring, “There hasn’t been an assault or an attack” on the city.

In a cynical exercise in deceptive wordplay, Kirby said, “The president doesn’t want to see operations in Rafah that put at greater risk the more than a million people that are seeking refuge there.”

This statement seeks to suggest that the White House opposes Israel’s assault on the city, despite the announcement by the White House last month that “The two sides agreed on the shared objective to see Hamas defeated in Rafah.”

The Wall Street Journal, speaking for a faction of the US political establishment that openly proclaims its homicidal aims instead of trying to cover them up it with transparent lies, declared, “The battle for Rafah has begun in Gaza, and it’s an essential part of Israel’s war of self-defense against Hamas.”

In a blunt assessment of the situation on the ground, the Journal wrote:

Early Monday morning Israel ordered the evacuation of eastern Rafah, directing civilians to safety. In the afternoon Israeli tanks advanced. The plan is to evacuate and fight in the city piece by piece, swiftly moving civilians north and west.

In reality, the evacuation of Rafah is being conducted just as the previous evacuations were, with Israel demanding that civilians move to areas under active bombardment and targeting people as they are fleeing. The evacuation orders included no promise of safe passage or that those displaced will be safe once they arrive.

The Euro-Med Monitor said in a statement:

Through written leaflets, text messages, and recorded phone calls, the Israeli army has ordered Rafah’s civilian population to move out of the city’s eastern neighborhoods, particularly the area of Al-Shouka as well as Al-Salam, Al-Geneina, and Al-Byouk, toward the area of Al-Mawasi.

However, Israel provided no explanation as to how the civilian population would be safely transported to Al-Mawasi, which is west of the nearby city of Khan Yunis, or how they would be organized upon their arrival.

Euro-Med noted:

More than 200,000 people may be targeted by the displacement orders, which also affect the Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital, Rafah’s main hospital, as well as the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings. It should be noted that humanitarian aid access through these crossings has been stopped since yesterday afternoon.

To date, Israel has ordered the evacuation of—i.e., ethnically cleansed—more than two-thirds of Gaza.

The Euro-Med Monitor warned:

A larger wave of displacement, increased overcrowding, and the elimination of opportunities to obtain basic food and water will result from the impending Israeli ground attack on Rafah, which may be the deadliest point of escalation against Palestinian civilians. The Strip’s health system, which is already nearly destroyed, would likely collapse completely.

Palestinian journalist Bisan Owda, who is currently living in a refugee camp in Rafah, said in an Instagram posting:

If Rafah is invaded, that means the largest and the only crossing, Rafah Crossing, will be closed. And that means no humanitarian aid trucks are entering, those who are in need for treatment outside Gaza cannot travel, those who are in need to evacuate their families to find any safe places outside Gaza cannot travel, the international humanitarian workers, doctors, activists cannot get inside Gaza.

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In a statement on X, Socialist Equality Party presidential candidate Joe Kishore wrote:

The development of a movement in the working class against the war of the capitalist class at home has to be connected to a fight against the capitalist war abroad. It is, in reality, one war.

It is by mobilizing the working class on a socialist program, independent of the parties of the ruling class, that the genocide in #Gaza can be stopped as part of a fight against the imperialist-capitalist system as a whole

Since the start of the genocide nearly seven months ago, 34,622 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to health officials, with thousands more buried under the rubble of buildings, meaning the real death toll is greater than 40,000. At least 254 aid workers, 492 health workers and 141 journalists have been killed by Israeli bombs or bullets.