Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli military on Feb. 9 to draw up plans for the "evacuation" of Palestinians from Rafah in southern Gaza as it prepares to launch a full-scale assault on the area. Where people would be evacuated to—and how—remains unclear. Over one million Palestinians forcibly displaced by Israel's military campaign—now entering its fifth month—have been pushed into Rafah. Aid groups warn that there is nowhere left for people to flee to. People in Rafah are already experiencing disease and starvation, with aid operations struggling to meet even basic needs. A ground invasion would "exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare," UN Secretary-General António Guterres said.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has denied arming the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces fighting Sudan's army, despite a leaked UN document alleging "credible" evidence. The UN report said arms and ammunition shipments are unloaded each week from cargo planes at an airport in Chad, and handed to the RSF at the Sudanese border. The UAE has also been accused of funnelling weapons through Uganda and the Central African Republic, part of a regional supply network that has allowed the RSF to "punch above its weight" in the nine-month conflict. But the Gulf State—with business and political interests across Africa—said it has taken no side in the war.
Since the "humanitarian pause" ended, Israel has focused its air-strikes on Gaza's southern city of Khan Younis—now swelled with hundreds of thousands displaced from the north of the Strip. Along with the strikes, Israeli planes are dropping leaflets on the city, warning the populace to flee further south to Rafah on the Egyptian border—despite having earlier declared the southern Strip a "safe zone." Most of the Strip's 2.3 million population has already fled to the south, and Egyptian officials believe that Israel is preparing to next drive them across the border into the Sinai desert. The aim of the Khan Younis strikes is to "disrupt the mass of the population from the south and push it towards Egypt," one Cairo official told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has categorically rejected a forced resettlement, and the idea is generating anger among Egyptians. (The New Arab, BBC News)
The Israeli Ministry of Intelligence is recommending the forcible and permanent transfer of the Gaza Strip's 2.2 million Palestinian residents to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, according to an official document revealed in full by progressive Israeli website Local Call Oct. 29. The 10-page document, dated Oct. 13, bears the logo of the Intelligence Ministry, and has been acknowledged by the ministry as authentic. It assesses three options regarding the future of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in the context of the current war, and recommends a full population transfer as its preferred course of action. It also calls on Israel to enlist the international community in support of this endeavor. The document has been translated into English by Local Call's partner website +972.
During a visit to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing on Oct. 20, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for trucks carrying humanitarian aid to urgently be allowed into Gaza. According to the UN, around 200 trucks were waiting on the Egyptian side of the border. Some are expected to start moving "in the next day or so," according to UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths. On Oct. 18, US President Joe Biden announced he had brokered a deal with Egypt and Israel to allow 20 aid trucks into Gaza through Rafah—the only border crossing not controlled by Israel. The World Health Organization called it a "drop in the ocean of need right now." In his speech, Guterres called for "as many [trucks] as necessary" to be allowed to enter Gaza on a daily basis.
On Oct. 13, Israel ordered 1.1 million people living in the north of the Gaza Strip to evacuate to the south of the enclave within 24 hours, ahead of an expected ground invasion. The order came after gunmen from Hamas, the political and militant group that governs Gaza, carried out an unprecedented incursion into Israel on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,300 people, including many civilians, and taking between 100 and 150 hostages. The UN called on Israel to rescind its evacuation order, with a spokesperson saying it is "impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences."
The inaugural biennial Africa Climate Summit, which was attended by some 30,000 delegates including 17 heads of state, wrapped up in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, Sept. 6 following three days of discussions largely centred on the opportunities for "green" economic growth on the continent. The summit issued the Nairobi Declaration, containing a slew of pledges and demands, including calls to accurately value the continent's natural carbon sequestration assets (such as its forests), and for $600 billion in investment in renewable energy (a more than 435% increase) to produce at least 300 gigawatts by 2030. The declaration also called on wealthy countries to live up to their existing commitments to cut emissions and to deliver funds for adaptation—by properly launching, for example, the Loss & Damage Fund agreed to at last year's COP27 in Egypt. However, the summit was also dogged by controversy and protests, with more than 500 civil society organizations signing an open letter claiming its agenda had been hijacked to market "false solutions" such as carbon markets.
An attorney representing imprisoned Egyptian political activist Ahmed Douma took to social media Aug. 20 to announce the activist's release, thanks to a presidential pardon. Douma had endured a decade of incarceration within Egyptian penitentiaries, and had five more years of his sentence to serve. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi apparently responded to repeated calls for his release by human rights organizations.