Rafah: South Gaza Strip

Staying home for Palestinians in Rafah is not only a necessity, it has become a prime act of resistance.

 Last night Israeli Apache helicopters shot missiles into Rafah. This is a city that the Israeli’s have demolished nearly 700 homes in. Israeli soldiers in heavily armoured tanks are shooting at the hundreds of Palestinian children who peer around corners of their devastated refugee camps to watch the construction of the separation wall. The wall is 8 metres high and 10 metres deep. The house demolition is somehow justified by the Israeli government as a necessity for the construction of this apartheid wall. But even so, the house demolition is spreading far away from the wall, further into the city. In Block J Israeli soldiers climbed atop houses abandoned by Palestinian families because of the danger and shot into the houses that people still lived in. The Israeli military wired some of the empty houses with explosives and blew them up. They shot tank shells and tank bullets into the houses and throughout the camp. They destroyed 10 houses in one small area. All told they destroyed 22 in one night. Palestinian families spent the morning moving their belongings from their homes. The destruction of the row of houses in front of another is the demolition order, because once the row in front of you is gone, you are next. The actual demolition comes without warning now. Just a single tank shell fired straight into your house and you must run. Grab your children and scatter into the night. The demolitions have been coming around 2 am lately, but day before yesterday Israeli soldiers spent the day grinding into the middles of the camp. One family took a stand by pitching a tent amidst the destruction where their house once was. International activists joined the family and another returned to their home. International activists also took over a home that a Palestinian family had to vacate because of the constant Israeli shooting. The Palestinian man who stayed in the one room left standing in his home, the kitchen, is now homeless. An Israeli bulldozer plowed through his kitchen.

Palestinian workers, because unemployment nears 80% due to the closure, who must seek employment in illegal Israeli settlements around Mawasi must lift their pant legs up and turn circles for Israeli soldiers who hold their guns on them. The arrogance of this occupying army is difficult to fathom even while witnessing it.

Somehow able to convince many in the international community that the occupiers are the victims of the occupied, the Israeli military government is undertaking the most successful propaganda campaigns in history. Last night ten Israelis in Tel Aviv were killed by some Palestinians from Nablus. Nablus has been held captive under Israeli curfew with tanks rolling through its streets and its residents under seige and threat of death or kidnapping for the past six months. This is the result of the ilegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, where the people are being squeezed to the point of explosion. Even those Palestinians who stay home, defying arbitrary house demolition orders, are considered fighters now. And at the same time, Palestinians must beg Israeli permission to leave their homes or their towns, to control their water or electricity, to harvest their crops, to go to work or school, to live. This is a military occupation, illegal under international law, condemned by international law, that is allowed to continue.

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