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BBC, Nov 18:

Israel has told Palestinians in Khan Younis, the largest city in southern Gaza, to leave their homes.

The city hosts hundreds of thousands who fled northern Gaza as Israel began a ground operation against Hamas.

The new order suggests the military operations could soon move towards the south of the Gaza Strip.

"We're asking people to relocate. I know it's not easy for many of them, but we don't want to see civilians caught up in the crossfire," Mark Regev, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told US network MSNBC on Friday.

When the IDF invaded the north of Gaza, they specifically told civilians to evacuate south of the Wadi that roughly divides Gaza in two. But Khan Younis is a city much farther south than that. So, where does the IDF suggest it would be safe[r] for Gazans to relocated to, when evacuating from Khan Yunis?

Map (from wikipedia ) :

Gaza map

1 Answer 1

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They don't explicitly say, and just offer hints.

IDF Leaflet warning Palestinians to vacate city

Residents of several neighbourhoods in the southern city of Khan Younis were on Wednesday urged to leave their homes and head to shelters as Israel continued its heavy bombardment of the enclave ... The leaflets say: "To the residents of the eastern neighbourhoods of Khan Younis, Al Qarara, Khuzaa, Bani Suheila, and Abasan, for your safety, you must evacuate your homes immediately and head to the known shelters."

The "shelters" here refer to UN refugee centres. However, even Israel doesn't hide the fact that it knows that there aren't enough UNRWA shelter and provisions to support the increasing number of refugees it creates. And, as per their objective to drive out as many Palestinians as possible from Gaza, it wants them to go to the Rafah border near Egypt:

Regev said that Israeli troops will have to advance into the city ... "I'm pretty sure that they won't have to move again" if they move west, he continued. "We're asking them to move to an area where hopefully there will be tents and a field hospital." Because the western areas are closer to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, humanitarian aid could be brought in "as quickly as possible," he said.

"Hopefully".

A Guardian report says:

Shelters are crammed, food and water supplies are so low the UN has warned that Palestinians face the “immediate possibility” of starvation, infectious diseases are spreading, and the war there is expected to intensify in coming days.

When Israeli planes hit northern Gaza at the start of the war, and troops prepared to move in, Israeli messages urged civilians to move south of the Wadi Gaza wetlands for their own safety. Despite risks on the journey, and severe overcrowding in shelters and private homes, hundreds of thousands followed those orders.

... They found only relative safety. Forty days into the war, 3,676 people had been killed in southern areas that Israel had declared safer. ... Now many of those people have been told to move again, and cram into an even smaller area along the coast, around the town of Mawasi.

Relief workers, though resigned to Israel's apathy and callousness by now, still spoke up against the inhumane circumstances deliberately being created by Netanyahu's government to persecute the Palestinians:

“The evacuation orders in Gaza are concerning and further endanger the lives of over a million people,” Jessica Moussan, spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, told The National. “These orders lack adequate provisions for basic necessities such as shelter, food, water and medical care. This significantly increases the risk to civilians,” Ms Moussan said.

More than 1.5 million people have been internally displaced in Gaza, with most having fled to the south, where food, water and electricity are becoming increasingly scarce ... Khan Younis houses hundreds of thousands of people who followed previous evacuation orders to head south and are now crowded into family homes and UN-run shelters.

... The order is "simply unrealistic, let alone unlawful", said Ahmed Bayram, spokesman for the Norwegian Refugee Council, an independent humanitarian organisation that helps those forced to flee. "Our teams on the ground, many of them displaced in Khan Younis, tell us they and their extended families have nowhere to go," he told The National. "Israel, even after its original orders to move northern residents to the south, has persistently bombed areas it claimed to be safe. These are all places where people thought they would be safe. It turns out they were just as dangerous. The tragedy is repeating itself here."

References:

  1. IDF leaflet dropped in Khan Younis
  2. Israeli order to evacuate Khan Younis leaves a million Gazans at risk, aid groups say
  3. Fears mount for Gaza refugees as nowhere is deemed safe for civilians in effort to destroy Hamas
  4. Israel strikes South Gaza amidst the warning to evacuate Khan Younis: At least 32 killed
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