The United Nations human rights chief has cautioned Israel against its planned full-fledged military operation in Rafah.
Volker Türk explained that such an operation would be “terrifying, given the prospect that an extremely high number of civilians, again mostly children and women, will likely be killed and injured”.
He further warned that any land invasion into Rafah could halt the already limited humanitarian aid reaching Gaza, where approximately 1.5 million residents are densely packed, with thousands more believed to be in northern Gaza.
UN aid agencies have cautioned that many people are at risk of starvation due to the severe restrictions on aid supplies.
Türk issued a stark reminder to Israel about its obligations under international law, highlighting that conflict in Rafah could lead to “further atrocity crimes.”
He added: “Israel must comply with the legally binding orders issued by the International Court of Justice, and with the full span of international humanitarian law.
“Those who defy international law have been put on notice. Accountability must follow.”
Recall that the UN special rapporteur on the occupied territories said she believed Israel was already in breach of the ICJ ruling.
Israel launched its military operations in Gaza after Hamas killed more than 1,200 people on 7 October, and took 253 people hostage.
In retaliation, more than 28,000 Palestinians have been killed and more than 67,500 injured in Israeli attacks.