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Rafah Nakba

May 2004

The following is a note from Heba Zayyan, the PR Officer at the Women’s Affairs Center, one of GRI’s partners in Gaza. For the fourth consecutive day, the Israeli Defense Forces have expanded their brutal military offensive in Rafah town and refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip.

How can one’s sanity accept what’s happening now in Rafah? 120 houses at least were demolished whose habitants (200 families) are totally living in tents. It is another nakba in the Palestinians’ life in the full meaning of the word. How far can one believe that people, secure in their homes at night are being called to leave without delay, not given time to collect some their belongings or even their ID cards? What’s happening in Rafah carries the brutal barbarianism of the Israelis that’s done in the name of protection of borders. How can we still believe in peace and democracy if people who demonstrate against the unexplainable Israeli violence, will get killed by heavy missiles? The first line of the demonstration was children who were enthusiastic and innocent enough to ahead the demonstration. Where are these children now? They are all uprooted from their dreams of a liberate state to be shattered into pieces.

It is a conspiracy of silence to which the international bodies, the Arab countries, and the United States – the great power, contribute. It makes you feel that this small part of the world does not deserve words of condemnation or consolation!! The Arab countries act as if Rafah, Gaza and Palestine in large do not matter anymore…it is natural for people to die every single day…it is natural to see all this Palestinian Blood being shed on TVs….This is far away from the so called (human rights); this is not democracy and negotiation. It is rather an organized crime being committed under the sight and hearing of all the world with total passivity and ignorance.

We at WAC are being confronted with stories of destruction and torture of people narrated by women who live the experience. If one listens to one of the national radio channels, s/he will be shocked at the horrifying stories told. One woman is in labor and her house is within the besiege area and they are calling on the Red Cross to come and pick her. A child who is 11 and who is diabetic since birth does not take his insulin for the 4th day. A girl and boy are shot on their house roof only because they were feeding their pigeons. A village for orphans is under the siege and suffers lack of resources etc. You can hear millions of stories that echo one fact only, which is the terrorist unjust attack of people in Rafah that is leading to a massacre.

We believe that the Israelis would break into other areas of Rafah other than Tal Al Sultan and they might use Rafah men and boys as human shields. We do trust that you would deliver voices from the OPTS to the world clarifying that the humanistic situation in Rafah is disastrous and it needs international intervention.

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