Rafah: Israel Says 2 Hostages Freed; Over 70 Palestinians Killed

  • The Israeli military announced on Monday that it had freed two hostages being held in Rafah on the Gazan side of the Egyptian border in a rescue operation, with the Israeli Prime Minister citing the assault as evidence that Israeli's campaign in Gaza should continue. The assault into the city reportedly killed at least 70 Palestinians. Reuters (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • The operation included a heavy barrage of airstrikes, which were pointed to as the cause of the civilian casualties. The military said that the hostages were being held in an apartment building guarded by Hamas gunmen. Israel now believes that around 30 of the over 100 hostages remaining in Gaza are dead. CBS (LR: 2 CP: 5)
  • Israeli officials, including the Prime Minister, have indicated recently that Israel will soon send troops into Rafah, which is currently housing upwards of 1.3M displaced Palestinians — over half of the strip's population. A UN official described Rafah and its tent camps as a “pressure cooker of despair.” CNN (LR: 2 CP: 5)
  • Axios reported that US Pres. Joe Biden told Netanyahu during a Sunday phone call that Israel should not enter Rafah without planning for the evacuation of Palestinian civilians in the area — stressing that US support for such an assault was conditional. Netanyahu last week ordered the military to submit a plan for evacuating Rafah's civilian population. Axios
  • Additionally, the possibility of an Israeli advance into Rafah has created tension with regional countries, namely Egypt. Egyptian and Western officials have recently indicated that invading Rafah would threaten Egypt's peace treaty with Israel and risk closing Gaza's main supply route for aid delivery. POLITICO
  • Gaza's health ministry reports that the conflict has killed over 28K people in the Gaza Strip, the majority of whom were women and children. The war has also created a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation. The official Israeli death toll on Oct. 7 stands at around 1.2K people. Euronews

Pro-establishment narrative:

  • Israel's war against Hamas is just, given the atrocities the group committed during its Oct. 7 attack. However, Israel must take into account the innocent civilians in Gaza who are trapped between Israel's military machine and Hamas' terrorist fighters. Israel has not yet created acceptable conditions to move into Rafah, and it must have a concrete plan to evacuate civilians from any areas in which it will operate.

Pro-Israel narrative:

  • Though this has been a tragic war, Israel must eliminate Hamas once and for all to ensure Israel's security. To eradicate its capacity for terror, Israel has been forced to use blunt tools to rout Hamas forces, as they are so deeply dug into Gaza's civil infrastructure. Indeed, this recent rescue operation into Rafah proves that Israel's tactics are bearing fruit. Israel has worked hard to compromise and ensure the safety of civilians, but it will have to go into Rafah if an agreement is not reached soon.

Pro-Palestine narrative:

  • Israel continues to demonstrate that its war is not against Hamas but against the Palestinian people as a whole. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is already far beyond catastrophic, as over 1M Palestinians barely survive in dense and muddy tent camps while battling famine and disease. If Israel were to push into Rafah as it did Gaza City and Khan Younis, the consequences would be absolutely dire.
    AL JAZEERA (LR: 2 CP: 1)

Nerd narrative:

  • There's a 6% chance that Hamas will have de facto power in the Gaza Strip on Jan. 1, 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.
    METACULUS (LR: 3 CP: 3)
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