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Anthony Albanese Joins NZ, Canada, in Urging Against Israel’s Planned Invasion of Rafah

The second joint statement from Prime Ministers Trudeau, Albanese, and Luxon called Israel's planned military operation "catastrophic."
People inspect damaged home after Israeli air strike in Rafah
People inspect the damage to their homes following Israeli air strikes on February 12, 2024 in Rafah, Gaza. . Photo: Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

Israel's planned military operation in Rafah has been called "catastrophic" and "devastating" by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, in a joint statement released alongside the Prime Ministers of Canada and New Zealand.

Albanese condemned the announced ground invasion of Rafah, an area where around 1.5million Palestinians have been taking refuge, and alongside Canada's Justin Trudeau and New Zealand's Christopher Luxon called for an immediate ceasefire. 


Israel claims Rafah is the final Hamas stronghold in Gaza -- a city that before the war had a population of around 280,000. Over a million Palestinians fled to Rafah after Israel designated the city as a "safe zone" in the first weeks of the war. According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, Israel has carried out almost 300 air or drone strikes in the area since then, killing more than 2000 people including civilians. 

"A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic," said the statement from the three Prime Ministers.

"About 1.5 million Palestinians are taking refuge in the area, including many of our citizens and their families. With the humanitarian situation in Gaza already dire, the impacts on Palestinian civilians from an expanded military operation would be devastating. We urge the Israeli government not to go down this path. There is simply nowhere else for civilians to go."

The statement alluded to a "growing international consensus" and implored Israel to "listen to its friends in the international community."

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has committed to continue an offensive on Rafah, but has said the military will only move once civilians are allowed to leave battle zones. It's not clear where those civilians would actually go.

Officials from the US, Egypt, and Qatar met with Israel earlier this week as international pressure grew for the country to stop its assault on Rafah. A ceasefire proposal from Hamas was rejected as "delusional" by Netanyahu last week.

Israel says 130 hostages are still unaccounted for since the October 7 attack by Hamas which killed at least 1200 people. Since then, Israel's military operations have expanded in the region and more than 28,000 Palestinians have been killed and more than 60,000 wounded.