Saudi Arabia strongly condemns Israel amid Rafah invasion fears

Saudi Arabia strongly condemns Israel amid Rafah invasion fears
Saudi Arabia has issued a strongly worded statement condemning Israel’s "systematic bloody campaign" amid fears of an assault on Rafah.
2 min read
07 May, 2024
Saudi foreign minister Faisal bin Farhan [Getty]

Saudi Arabia has warned against an Israeli attack on the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip in a strongly worded statement issued on Monday.

The statement from the Saudi foreign ministry accused Israel of targeting Rafah "as part of its systematic bloody campaign to storm all areas of the Gaza Strip".

It also said that Israel wanted to "displace" the Gaza Strip's "residents towards the unknown" saying that this was "in light of the lack of safe zones after the massive destruction caused by the Israeli war machine".

Nearly 1.4 million people have been displaced to Rafah – the last area of the Gaza Strip not to be stormed by Israeli forces - from other areas of the devastated Gaza Strip.

Israel on Monday ordered residents of eastern Rafah to evacuate the area and move to other parts of the Gaza Strip which have been devastated by war.

This was followed by an announcement from Hamas that it had accepted a plan put forward by US, Egyptian, and Qatari mediators for a truce with Israel.

However, Israel has not agreed to the plan and on Tuesday sent in tanks to the eastern edge of Rafah to seize control of border crossings with Egypt.

The Saudi statement highlighted the Gulf kingdom's "demand for the international community to intervene immediately to stop the genocide carried out by the occupation forces against defenceless civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories".

Prior to Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel and the outbreak of the Gaza war, there were widespread reports that Saudi Arabia was close to a normalisation deal with Israel.

However, talk of such a deal died down amid Israel’s ferocious and indiscriminate attacks on Gaza’s civilian population, which have killed nearly 35,000 people, most of them women and children.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Riyadh last month, however, to discuss dwindling prospects for such a deal.

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The forthright language of the latest Saudi statement contrasts with relatively muted coverage of the Gaza war in Saudi media.

Saudi authorities have recently cracked down on social media users who have posted anti-Israel content.