UN Security Council to Hold Emergency Meeting on Israeli Attack in Rafah

The UN Security Council is calling an emergency meeting today to address the recent Israeli airstrike on the Rafah IDP camp, which resulted in the deaths of dozens of Palestinians in the worst agony, people were burned alive

by Sededin Dedovic
UN Security Council to Hold Emergency Meeting on Israeli Attack in Rafah
© Andrew Burton / Getty Images

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting today regarding the Israeli attack on a displaced persons camp in Rafah, which resulted in the deaths of dozens of Palestinians. AFP journalists reported early this morning on new Israeli strikes last night on this border town in the southern Gaza Strip.

Two Hamas members were targeted by an Israeli attack in Rafah on Sunday evening, causing a fire in the camp and killing 45 people, according to the local Ministry of Health.

Civilians ‘burned alive’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the attack was not intended to cause civilian casualties and that the incident would be investigated.

“Despite our greatest efforts to avoid harming civilians, unfortunately, a tragic mistake occurred,” said Netanyahu.

Israeli soldiers direct an armored personnel carrier near the southern border with the Gaza Strip on May 25, 2024 in Southern Is© Amir Levy / Getty Images

Earlier, the Israeli military stated that the attack was carried out “with precise ammunition and based on accurate intelligence”.

The Wafa news agency, citing the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), reported that many victims were “burned alive” in their tents. Al Jazeera's fact-checking agency Sanad says the attacks were aimed at the Brix camp west of Rafah.

An aerial photograph taken on May 24 shows hundreds of tents in the area, near a UNRWA warehouse. The attack has drawn international condemnation, with Palestinians and many Arab countries calling it a massacre. Israel stated they are investigating the tragic incident.

“There is no safe place in Gaza. This horror must stop,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres posted on social media. The UN’s humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, pointed to warnings about civilian danger preceding the Rafah raid.

“We saw the consequences of last night’s completely unacceptable attack,” he stated, adding that calling it a mistake means nothing to those killed, those mourning, and those trying to save lives. Algeria called for today’s emergency Security Council meeting to discuss the attack.

A UN Security Council spokesperson stated that Israel must take every possible precaution to protect civilians. The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said he was appalled by the attack, and the President of France expressed his horror.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in the Israeli parliament (Knesset) last night that people died “despite the greatest efforts to save civilians”. The attack occurred ahead of the planned official recognition of the Palestinian state by Spain, Ireland, and Norway.

On Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz banned the Spanish consulate in Jerusalem from providing consular services to Palestinians starting June 1 as a preliminary punitive measure. Israel conducted the deadly attack on Rafah late Sunday, hours after Hamas fired a barrage of rockets at the Tel Aviv area, the first time in several months, most of which were intercepted.

The military stated that its aircraft hit a Hamas facility in the city and named the killed senior officials of the extremist organization from the other Palestinian territory, the occupied West Bank. Human rights groups have renewed calls for US President Joe Biden to halt arms supplies to Israel after the UN’s highest court ordered the Israeli government to immediately cease its ground offensive in Rafah and allow aid deliveries to the area.

The United States faces months of pressure to freeze military aid to Israel as the number of Palestinian casualties in the Gaza Strip continues to rise and the humanitarian crisis deepens in the besieged enclave. Biden publicly opposed the Israeli offensive in Rafah, where most of Gaza's displaced residents have gathered, and his administration suspended a shipment of weapons to Israel out of concern.

However, despite saying in early May that he would withhold more weapons if the country launched a large-scale operation in Rafah, Biden largely refrained from using such leverage as Israeli officials ignored Washington's warnings.

Human rights observers also noted that the ruling lays the groundwork for the United Nations (UN) Security Council to take more decisive action against Israel. USA - one of the five veto-wielding members of the Council, has repeatedly shielded Israel from the actions of the Security Council since the start of the Gaza war.

Palestinians in Ramallah in the West Bank protested yesterday against the attack on Rafah, which drew harsh condemnations from Egypt and Qatar, key mediators in efforts to achieve a ceasefire and exchange hostages held in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

The Israel-Hamas war began on October 7 last year after an attack by Palestinian extremists led by Hamas from Gaza on southern Israel, killing more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to AFP. The extremists took 252 hostages, 121 of whom are still detained, including 37 whom the military says are no longer alive.

At least 36,050 people have been killed in Gaza, mostly civilians, in the subsequent Israeli offensive, according to Hamas's Ministry of Health.