The Israeli army has ordered Palestinians living in the north of Gaza to move south within 24 hours.
The north of the Gaza Strip includes some of the most densely populated areas in the territory such as the biggest population centre, Gaza City, as well as the Jabaliya refugee camp and the areas of Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun.
UN Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric said that the demand encompasses 1.1 million people, around half of the population of Gaza. He added that the UN strongly appealed for the order to be rescinded.
It is hard to imagine how 1 million people, including the hundreds of injured from almost one week of Israeli air attacks, will be able to move within 24 hours.
In a statement sent to civilians in Gaza City, the Israeli military said, “The Hamas terrorist organisation waged a war against the State of Israel and Gaza City is an area where military operations take place. This evacuation is for your own safety.”
The Israeli military stated that the people will be able to return to Gaza City only when another announcement permitting it is made.
“Do not approach the area of the security fence with the State of Israel,” it added.
“Hamas terrorists are hiding in Gaza City inside tunnels underneath houses and inside buildings populated with innocent Gazan civilians.”
“Civilians of Gaza City, evacuate south for your own safety and the safety of your families and distance yourself from Hamas terrorists who are using you as human shields.”Israeli military
Israeli military Spokesman, Jonathan Conricus said that the military will operate with “significant force” in Gaza in the coming days and is calling on civilians to evacuate in the sealed-off territory so it can strike Hamas militants.
He said Israeli forces “will make extensive efforts to avoid harming civilians.”
“Out of an understanding that there are civilians here who are not our enemy and we do not want to target them, we are asking them to evacuate so that we will be able to continue to strike military targets belonging to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.”Jonathan Conricus
UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, “The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences.”
Dujarric said that the order could “transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation.”
He added that the order applied to all UN staff and those sheltering in UN facilities, including schools, health centres and clinics.
Meanwhile, a news agency reported a Hamas official as saying that the UN statement warning that Israel has told people in northern Gaza to leave to the south of the enclave is “fake propaganda”, and urging Palestinians in Gaza not to fall for it.
U.S Congresswoman Criticizes Israel’s Decision
Progressive U.S Congresswoman, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez denounced Israel’s push for more than 1.1 million Palestinians to move from northern Gaza in an apparent effort to pave the way for a ground invasion of the territory.
“Any person can see that ordering 1+ million people to move in under 24 hours is not possible. It is unacceptable,” she noted in a social media post.
“The UN has already deemed the order ‘impossible’ without ‘devastating humanitarian consequences’. Humanity is at stake. Nearly half are children. We must halt this.”Alexandria Ocasio Cortez
Veteran Egyptian politician, Mustafa Bakri also accused Israel of trying to drive Palestinians into Egypt.
He noted on X, “It seems that this warning foretells the imminent ground aggression and forced displacement of the people of the Gaza Strip towards the border with Egypt, so that they can eliminate the dream of establishing a Palestinian state.”
Former Australian Ambassador to Lebanon, Ian Parmeter told a news agency, “I think Israel is under no illusions that one million people can simply move within 24 hours.”
“It’s simply warning that they’re coming in,” Parmeter added.