Arab League warns Israeli attack on Rafah could undermine peace efforts in region

The organization reportedly warned that an invasion of Rafah would destroy any chance of a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Hamas war

An attack by Israel on the Palestinian city of Rafah, located in Gaza on the Egyptian border, would be considered an attack on pan-Arab national security, the Council of the Arab League has announced, according to reports. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to invade the refugee-packed city despite international condemnation.
The decision came during an extraordinary meeting of the 22-nation council in Cairo on Wednesday, Al Arabiya reported. The council also declared that “invading Rafah will lead to the collapse of chances for peace and the expansion of the conflict,” the Saudi broadcaster paraphrased.
The meeting was called by Palestine to address Israel’s “genocide and policies of starvation and displacement,” as well as its refusal to abide by a UN Security Council resolution demanding that it halt military operations in Gaza during the month of Ramadan.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that he had approved an “operational plan” to invade Rafah, claiming that “there is no victory without entering Rafah and there is no victory without eliminating the Hamas battalions there.”

Netanyahu has promised since February to send troops into Rafah, a densely-packed city located in southern Gaza. With much of the rest of the enclave destroyed by Israeli bombing raids and ground maneuvers, Rafah is currently home to an estimated 1.5 million displaced people, more than half of the pre-conflict population of the enclave.
As such, Netanyahu has been heavily criticized for his planned invasion. The UN has warned that an assault on Rafah “could lead to a slaughter” of civilians, while the US has refused to back the operation without seeing an Israeli plan to move civilians out of harm’s way. As of Monday, American officials were still waiting to see such a plan, reported.
Last month, US President Joe Biden warned Netanyahu that Israel would be crossing a “red line” if it invaded Rafah. Netanyahu dismissed Biden’s warning, telling German media “I have a red line. You know what the red line is? That October 7 doesn’t happen again.”

Hamas fighters attacked Israel on October 7, killing around 1,100 people and taking roughly 250 hostages back to Gaza. Israel responded by imposing a near-total siege on Gaza and launching air raids on the enclave, followed by a ground invasion. Nearly 33,000 people have been killed in Gaza in the months since, most of them women and children, according to the enclave’s health ministry.
The Arab League has repeatedly condemned Israel’s war, and called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. The organization has also rejected Israeli proposals to move the entire population of Gaza into or the , with Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit calling these plans “insane.”