Israel To Move Civilians to ‘Humanitarian Islands’ Before Invasion

Tel Aviv claims it will move the 1.5 million Palestinians sheltering in Rafah to other areas of the Strip, then attack the city.

The Israeli military announced that it plans to relocate the 1.5 million Palestinians taking refuge in Rafah to “humanitarian islands.” After Tel Aviv said it was planning to attack Rafah, the White House urged Israel to develop a strategy for evacuating civilians first.

Israel’s chief military spokesman, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said the Palestinians would be relocated to other areas of Gaza. “We need to make sure that 1.4 million people or at least a significant amount of the 1.4 million will move. Where? To humanitarian islands that we will create with the international community,” he told reporters.

Several top US officials have stated that before attacking, Israel must have a plan for the Palestinian civilians sheltering in Rafah, the southernmost city in the Gaza Strip. The White House issued similar demands before Tel Aviv commenced on other cities in the Strip, such as Khan Younis.

Israel has responded by issuing Palestinians convoluted instructions on where to evacuate. Additionally, the communications blackout in Gaza caused by the Israeli war makes obtaining accurate information difficult for hundreds of thousands of war-weary residents and refugees.

Israeli forces have repeatedly attacked regions deemed “safe zones,” as well as civilians traveling along the paths that were marked as evacuation routes by Israel.

Hagari claimed Palestinians would find food and shelter provided by international aid organizations in the “humanitarian islands.” However, those who have fled to other safe zones have reported a lack of aid and facilities. The military spokesman did not say when the evacuation or the assault on Rafah would begin.

Rafah is the last city in the Strip not decimated by the five-month-long Israeli onslaught, which has destroyed most of the infrastructure in the Strip and killed more than 31,000. Combined with the bombardment, Israel severely limited aid shipments to Gaza, putting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians on the verge of famine.

On Wednesday, Israel attacked a UN food distribution center, claiming to target a Hamas commander. Martin Griffiths, the UN humanitarian chief, said aid organizations are struggling to continue operating due to the Israeli attacks. “How are we to maintain aid operations when our teams and supplies are constantly under threat?” he wrote. “They must be protected. This war has to stop.”

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.