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This week, attendants of summer camps near Rafah city visited the damaged sites of Rafah, to see the damaged airport and all destroyed houses. Last week, the Mawasi checkpoint (road from Rafah to the beach) was opened only for 1 hour, and then closed again, nobody knows the reason for this. Also last week, the IDF demolished olives trees in various districts of Rafah, such as Tal Al Sultan, and Block J, and they also removed the rubble of the demolished houses.
Internationals still cannot enter the Gaza Strip, because they are still not allowed to cross the Erz checkpoint. Another problem is, that thousands of university graduates and workers are unable to find any job. Even people with very high education, graduated at international universities, with outstanding results, in most cases cannot find any job, not even as an unskilled worker. Poverty now is the most common problem, many families who were victims of the IDF when their houses were demolished, received 300 Dollars from the UNRWA, which is not enough to rent a house for more than 3 months.
Children asking to release their fathers/brothers from imprisonment
In Rafah more than 200 children went with peace flags to the Mawasi checkpoint which is situated on the road from Rafah to the beach. They asked to open this checkpoint so the people from Rafah can go to the beach, but the soldiers forced them to leave the area with rude words and refused to open the checkpoint. Still, every day people suffer from shootings and tank movements in Rafah, the sound of it makes the children afraid. Also, some agricultural plost were demolished. People in Rafah are still suffering from the electricity problem, as most of the times there is no electricity, and water is the worst problem also, as well as mosquitos and the non-working sewage system.
6,000 Palestinians are still arrested in Israeli prisons.
In Rafah, 45 children of Palestinian prisoners launched a hunger strike to win their parents release.
The children are aged between 10 and 15.
It is hot and dusty in Rafah, and there is a lack of water. Rafah is close to the sea, but for 3 years, we were not allowed to go to the beach. Now, since the media reported that some of the checkpoints would have been opened/removed, 2 buses with school children tried to go to the beach, but were stopped at the checkpoints. After many hours of waiting at the checkpoint, the children had to return. All of them were very sad, tired and depressed. The checkpoints are still there, and nothing has changed.
The IDF continues with the Iron Wall, trying to avoid the media, so they do not allow anybody to come close to these building sites.
This week, a young man was shot, and yesterday, again many hundreds of olive trees were destroyed.
It seems the media all over the world report that the IDF has left the Gaza strip, but unfortunately, for us in Rafah and many surrounding places, this is not true. Here, nothing has changed at all. The shootings continue. They continue with the iron wall. Most checkpoints are still closed. Sometimes they remove 4 cement blocks of a roadblock and put them immediately on another site to make another roadblock, and many places are closed and blocked, so there is no freedom at all. And no solution at all for all the many homeless families.
Yesterday about 12 tanks and 5 bulldozers attacked Rafah, with massive interventions of helicopters. This attack was only for the entertainment of the soldiers ... they didn't demolish houses in an organized way, but randomly destroyed everything which was in their way. The soldiers shoot everyone in the streets, it did not matter if it was a child, an old man, or woman, they shoot on everything, and demolished all the olives trees that they found in their way.
Shelling, shooting, bombing, demolishing houses, demolishing olive trees, killing children while they are going to school, and in summer blocking the clean water, demolishing the water stations, destroying power lines, and demolishing the sewage stations... Every day, we hear about new crimes in our neighbors cities, in Khan Yoness City, last night, many people were injured, many houses demolished, many and streets were demolished, the same things happed in Beit Hanon, the city which is under curfew for more than one month, this city suffers lack of food, water and many things. So where is the peace activism? Where are these people who speak all the time about peace?
Every day in the last week there were IDF attacks in Rafah, today they killed a 30 year old woman, and yesterday I saw a woman who was shot in her eyes! The IDF demolished many houses in all the places in Rafah, and they demolished hundreds of olives trees in Rafah. This morning, the IDF attacked Khan Yonies City, they demolished many houses, and many people were injured. People have to sleep at the checkpoints because most of them are closed for long times. In Beit Hanon, people are still under curfew, for more than 1 month now.
Yesterday, the IDF demolished 5 more houses in Rafah, in the Tal Zoroob area, they attacked with about 20 tanks and 5 bulldozers. The IDF damaged the electricity stations and power lines, and when the workers come to fix it, they shoot at them, every night, so electricity is a big problem, as well as water supply. Many people were injured, many of them children, there is no day without shooting, in Block O, Block J, Hay Al Salam, Al Brasel, the airport, Tal Zoroub, and Tal Al Sultan.
Today's photos say more then my words could say....
This is our daily life in Rafah.
The killings and demolitions go on in Rafah, every day and every night. It does not stop. Since yesterday, another 10 houses demolished and 4 people injured, while in Gaza many people were shot.
Shoe and milk bottle of a killed baby child
In the past 3 days the attacks and clashes continued, many people were injured, the tanks continued to attack us - life became hell in Rafah. There were attacks at the Block O area, many houses demolished. The people in Beit Hanun are under curfew for more than a week, the IDF damaged all the places, many houses, there is no electricity and clean water in the area, many people were killed and injured. This area is completely closed, and itís hard for people to go out and buy food.
The water supply is still very limited, not enough water in many parts of Rafah. Another attack yesterday in the area of Block O, 10 houses were demolished, and many people were injured. It was a very bad night, shelling and shooting and many crimes... as they demolished the houses IN THE NIGHT, while people were sleeping, so it was immoral, very bad, people were running out of their houses and children were crying and asking for shelter, and crying ... TANKS!! And nobody takes care of these homeless people. As a result of that, today thousands of Palestinians demonstrated against the IDF crimes in Rafah, and against the crimes that the IDF did in the last night against people while they were sleeping and in a time which is called the Road Map time.
While the media report about the roadmap plan and peace negotiations, for the people in Rafah there is no improvement at all. The shootings, shellings and house demolitions go on as usual, day and night. Now the IDF has a new policy: they do not level the houses completely to the ground any more, but partially destroy them. This way, they cannot be reported as completely demolished, but are unsuitable to be used as an accomodation any more, and people continue to get homeless this way or have to live in partially ruined buildings. Also, the IDF demolished the water sewage system. When building the iron wall, they left the small white building (see photo) containing critical and expensive components of the water sewage system, sponsored by the European Union... but now, they damaged the components, and this causes lots of problems for the people, there is a lack of water... And there is another pest right now, lots of insects like mosquitos plague the people in Rafah, nobody can sleep.
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