World News

Penny Wong Calls on Israel to End Ground Offensive in Rafah

Australia has reiterated its objections to a major Israeli ground offensive into Rafah, emphasizing the devastating consequences it could have for Palestinian civilians.

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong has urged Israel to abandon its ground invasion operation in Gaza, after Israel announced its approval for a military offensive in Rafah on May 6, following Hamas’ acceptance of an Egyptian–Qatari ceasefire proposal.

Despite Israel claiming the proposal did not meet its requirements, it proceeded with its planned offensive, initiating strikes in the area to prepare for a ground invasion.

With over a million Palestinians seeking refuge in Rafah after evacuating from other parts of Gaza, the situation is dire.

Wong’s social media statement reiterated Australia’s opposition to the invasion and called for a “humanitarian ceasefire” to release hostages and deliver aid to affected civilians.

She also expressed support for efforts by Qatar, the United States, and Egypt to broker a ceasefire deal.

Prior to this, Wong had expressed “grave concern” about Israel’s military plans and called for a change in course.

While supportive of the creation of a Palestinian state, Wong also engaged in discussions about the recognition of Palestine and the possibility of a ceasefire with key figures.

Humanitarian Organizations Concerned about Israel’s Ground Offensive

The Australian Council for International Development (ACID) warned of catastrophic impacts on Palestinians in Rafah, with over 600,000 children at risk.

Amidst welcoming Wong’s comments, ACID urged Australia to suspend weapons sales to Israel and impose sanctions on officials promoting starvation during conflicts.

US Delaying Weapons Shipments to Israel

As Israel readies for a ground invasion of Rafah, the Biden administration has delayed some weapons shipments to Israel, citing concerns about civilian casualties in a large-scale military operation.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced a review of security assistance shipments, acknowledging the unfolding events in Rafah.

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