UN aid chief says 'evacuation to safe place an illusion' for people in Gaza

UN aid chief says 'evacuation to safe place an illusion' for people in Gaza


19 February, 2024

The UN's aid chief yesterday warned of the possibility of a spillover of Palestinians amassed in Rafah into Egypt if Israel launches a ground military operation against the border city.

Rafah currently holds over one million Palestinians who have sought safety after the city was designated as a "safe zone" by the Israeli military.

Many of these Palestinians have been displaced numerous times already, with previous "safe zones" getting bombed heavily or being invaded - such as the cities of Gaza City and Khan Younis.

Speaking to diplomats at the UN in Geneva, Martin Griffiths said "an evacuation to a safe place in Gaza is an illusion, and we need to push back on the calls that we're all hearing from the authorities to say, 'You must help us move the people of Gaza to some safe place.' This is an illusion."

Meanwhile, in what was the second warning in less than a week, US President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call that a ground offensive of Rafah should not go ahead unless there is "a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the civilians", the White House said.