Photostory: Home demolitions in Rafah (part 2 of 2)


9. On October 17th, 2002, one day after the beginning of the construction of the wall, IDF tanks shelled the crowded Block O neighborhood. 45-year-old Sa’id ‘Abdul ‘Aati ‘Obeid was killed instantly. His son, injured in the attack, stands on crutches in his home. 5 other civilians were killed and 40 others wounded in the attack.

10. Boys throwing stones at IDF bulldozers demolishing homes in Block O. Fifteen Palestinian children were killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Israeli troops in November 2002 alone.

11. Residents of Block O watch nervously as a deafening gun battle takes place behind their homes in Block O between Israeli tanks and Palestinian fighters.

12. Young block O residents watching a gun battle behind their homes. Children are often drawn into the conflict because it literally is happening in their backyards, and because the school year has been massively disrupted by Israel’s closures, curfews, and checkpoints.

13. Rami Shagfa, a young resident of Block O, watches an Israeli tank parked next to the wall behind his home. His home is riddled with bullet holes. Most windows have been filled with bricks for safety reasons. Rami has not slept well in months.

14. Block O residents watch helplessly as Israeli bulldozers destroy their homes. In 2001 alone, Israel demolished a total of 349 Palestinian homes, of which 249 were in the Gaza Strip, 64 in the West Bank and 46 in East Jerusalem. By mid-2002, Israel had already destroyed as many homes as it did the previous year.

15. Block O residents move their belongings in anticipation of the demolition of their home by the IDF. Occupants are given little or no warning prior to the destruction of their homes. Many have been killed or wounded during the armed attacks that precede them.

Related links

  • Report from Rafah Block ‘O’, Kristen Ess, Live from Palestine, 19 December 2002.
  • Rafah: Israeli forces demolish 16 homes and 8 greenhouses, PCHR, press release, 16 December 2002.
  • Demolishing homes: collective punishment, Arjan El Fassed, The Electronic Intifada, 29 August 2002.
  • Invisible killings: Israel’s daily toll of Palestinian children, Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 10 December 2002.
  • Israel wins the world’s worst housing rights violators award, BADIL, press release, 10 December 2002.