All news

Russia concerned about preparations for Rafah sweep, refugees to go to Egypt — Lavrov

This goes 100% against all UN resolutions, Russian Foreign Minister said

ANTALYA, March 2. /TASS/. The operation to sweep Rafah, prepared by Israel, will lead to a large number of refugees to Egypt, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference following the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.

"It also worries us that now, on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, operations are being prepared to sweep Rafah, where two-thirds, probably the entire population of Gaza, who have fled the violence in the rest of the enclave, have gathered. And when the cleansing of Rafah begins, a huge number of refugees will go to Egypt, and the Egyptians have repeatedly said that this is unacceptable. In fact, it will be ethnic cleansing," Lavrov said.

He added that there are also statements that the Gaza Strip should be a buffer zone for Israel. "The Israeli leadership has said that it is not about creating a Palestinian state, but about ensuring the security of the Jewish state of Israel. This goes 100% against all UN resolutions, it goes against common sense, it goes against the principles of justice. It only means that the Palestinians can be thrown out of the lands where their ancestors lived and, in general, all their rights are disregarded," the top diplomat pointed out.

According to him, the statements of the Israeli leadership confirm that it does not change its task to completely cleanse the Gaza Strip and eliminate Hamas. "Even Western representatives are surprised how it can be done - to completely eliminate Hamas. Especially since Israeli generals and ministers say that all Hamas people in Gaza <...> should be eliminated, as it turns out. Some of them even said that children born in Gaza are already extremists at the age of three. According to this logic, there may be no one left there," the minister said.

Tensions flared up again in the Middle East on October 7, 2023, when militants from the Gaza Strip-based radical Palestinian movement Hamas staged a surprise attack on Israeli territory from Gaza, killing residents of Israeli border settlements and taking over 240 hostages, including women, children and the elderly. Hamas described its attack as a response to the aggressive actions of Israeli authorities against the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. In response, Israel declared a total blockade of the Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians before the crisis, and has been delivering air strikes on Gaza as well as some parts of Lebanon and Syria. Clashes have also been reported on the West Bank.