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The meaning behind #AllEyesOnRafah

by Gaby Agbulos

IF you’ve been on social media lately, you may have seen the phrase “All Eyes on Rafah” commented on someone’s video, or captioned on someone’s Instagram post. 

If you’re unsure of what this means, let this article break it down for you. At present, Israel and Palestine continue to be in conflict with one another, with said conflict having reached eight months as of May.

At this point, the Israeli military has reached the town of Rafah, a Palestinian city located within the south Gaza Strip. They have since started to fire at multiple parts of Rafah, severely affecting the 1.5 million Gazans currently sheltered within the confines of the city. 

NPR’s Lauren Frayer, situated in Tel Aviv, noted that Rafah has been suffering from air strikes for months, and that Palestinians are being hit with artillery from Israeli tanks, which have consequently cut off the border to Egypt.

Given that the border in the city is closed, no Palestinians can leave, and humanitarian aid cannot enter either. Food and fuel also cannot enter Gaza, and injured people cannot go out. 

Monica Johnston, a nurse who’s been working as an aid worker in Rafah, has also noted the unsanitary conditions within the hospital. She stated that there were flies everywhere, and that the conditions were simply unbelievable. 

At present, the Israeli military has killed over 33, 000 Palestinians, 13, 800 of them being children.

Israel has since explained that it is expanding its attacks to both central and northern areas of the Gaza Strip as a means of preventing Hamas regrouping in those areas.

And while Israel has said that it would open a crossing in the north of Gaza for trucks to bring flour in, hunger and shortages have continued on to persist. Now, a third of Rafah is under orders for evacuation, with the thousands of displaced people once again confused in terms of where to go. 

This is because, before this, Israeli authorities had already forced them out of the other areas of Gaza. At this point, they practically have nowhere else to go as authorities continue to force them into smaller and smaller areas.

“There’s no empty areas where all the rubble is, so they do not have [an] area to put up their tents,” said freelance journalist Hind Khoudary.

“They are homeless. They do not know where to go.”

The phrase “All eyes on Rafah” is thus a call to attention to the issue at hand, with thousands of people calling for the government to commence a ceasefire to avoid yet another massacre.

Many all around the world are tuned into the situation of the Palestinians, trying their best to raise awareness to the ongoing situation, unsure of what else they can do as a means of helping.

Currently, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and 11 Red Cross National Societies are combining efforts to open a field hospital in Rafah to help address the overwhelming medical needs emanating from the ongoing conflict.

The ICRC has also been present in Israel and the occupied territories since 1967, working with the Palestine Red Crescent Society and Magen David Adom in Israel. You can donate to their humanitarian efforts in Gaza here

As per the organization Save the Children: “There is nowhere safe left for people to go.”

What we can do to help

As many are so far away from what is happening, they may feel that there is nothing they can do to help those suffering in Gaza. And while it may seem that way, there are many organizations online which people can donate to to help those suffering in Gaza. PCRF, for example, has opened a Palestine Children’s Relief fund, as have UNICEF and the United Nations.

Save the Children has also started a petition to stop the war on children, and many content creators online have brought attention to the situation in Gaza with the hashtag AllEyesOnRafah. 

Many have also started commenting this phrase on any video or post they come across online so that people may get curious and search what this phrase means.

If you have the means to donate, there are many places online which you can send money to. Any amount of money helps.

If not, do what you can to spread the news; get informed on what is happening, and let other people know of the situation as well. 

There are also several businesses who continue to show support for Israel despite what they have done to those residing in Gaza. If you can, know the companies that you need to avoid, as well as the ones you should support, as well.

Everyday, thousands are suffering in Gaza. At this point, to sit silently and to say that you don’t know enough about what’s happening feels like a crime in itself.

As per the popular Filipino adage: “Kapag namulat ka na sa katotohanan, kasalanan na ang pumikit.”

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