Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90
The Egyptians can't prevent Gazans with foreign passports from leaving Rafah into Egypt. Feb. 6, 2024.

Defense Minister Gallant’s words about an expected military operation in Rafah shake the Palestinians [in Gaza].

Last night, during a press conference, Defense Minister Gallant announced that an Israeli military operation is expected in Rafah, which until now the IDF forces have not entered.


It would not be a mistake to say that this was the main headline of the last day as far as the Palestinians are concerned.

All the main media outlets in the Arab world echoed this headline (examples attached below), which sows real fear among the Palestinians.

In the Rafah district there are now over a million displaced persons from more northern districts in the Gaza Strip, apart from the original 300,000 residents of the district. The level of density in Rafah is very high and let’s not forget the Rafah crossing which is the main lifeline of the strip – from where all aid enters.

The Palestinians have not yet digested the situation and do not understand how Israel will be able to carry out a military operation in such a crowded place. The American statement on the subject yesterday (on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) talking about the matter as a realistic option simply horrifies them. There is great fear of a high number of deaths.

The various possible scenarios begin to run before their eyes.

There is talk that Israel may only allow women and children to go back north before the operation begins. The idea resonates – until now it was floating in the air but it didn’t seem real. Until yesterday.

In my personal opinion, Gallant’s speech yesterday was a turning point in consciousness and created a new type of tension and fear among the Palestinians.

This can (and should) be used as an additional lever of Israeli pressure on the Palestinians and Hamas. A military operation in Rafah is definitely the biggest nightmare right now for the residents of the Gaza Strip. This feeling gives Israel an advantage.

The more Israel makes tangible progress, on the battlefield, towards a military operation in Rafah, and in the course of such an operation, the more the pressure will increase from the point of view of Hamas, and correspondingly, Israel’s bargaining power vis-a-vis it. This is in addition to the cumulative pressure on the displaced people in the Gaza Strip every day that passes as the campaign continues.


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Abu Ali Express blogs and reports about news in the Arab media at: