12 Feb 2024

NZ criticises Israel's plans for ground offensive of Rafah

From Morning Report, 7:23 am on 12 February 2024

New Zealand has joined a chorus of countries criticising a planned Israeli ground offensive on the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The city is shelter to more than half of the Gazan population, after northern parts of the territory were bombarded in recent months.

New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters, put out a statement on Sunday night saying he's "extremely concerned.

He says the protection of civilians is paramount, and the humanitarian consequences of a ground offensive "would be appalling".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated his plans to enter Rafah and says safe zones will be set up in the north.

The BBC's Barbara Plett-Usher spoke to Ingrid Hipkiss.