Rafah, Gaza Strip — An Israeli occupation forces tank has just shot two people, one 10-year-old and one 23-year-old, in the Brazil area of Rafah. The 23-year-old is in critical condition. Both were taken immediately to Al-Najar Hospital in Rafah for treatment.
The two were shot along the border with Egypt, where the Israeli military is building an occupation wall. The border is in fact an artificial border and Rafah a city divided, sectionned into 2 parts in Camp David in 1982. At that time, the border was an officiality, but gradually it has become a military zone.
Before the talks, there was a train that ran through the city delivering olive oil and other goods between Gaza and Egypt. After the 1982 talks, a barbed wire fence about a meter high was erected, but it was left there mostly without military supervision. You could walk up to the border. Farmland, houses, and stores reached the border and passed into Egypt. Families waved at each other from the rooftops.
Over the course of this Intifada, Israel has aggressively expanded its control over the border. Israeli tanks and military towers; the occupation wall and its adjacent 100-meter no-man’s-land effectively comprise the legal/security wing of this international border, shooting daily and nightly at innocent civilians in their homes and on the streets. The two boys shot just now are the latest casualties in this endeavor which has left over 200 dead and hundreds more injured in Rafah alone.
In Rafah, Caterpillar bulldozers demolish farmland and homes almost daily, in the effort to create a 100-meter no-man’s land along the border, where formerly there existed a flourishing city. Over 945 homes have been demolished completely; hundreds more partially demolished or damaged. From the border rooftops, you can see Egypt’s bright green contrast against the dead sand the army has made of the Palestinian border. Countless families who used to walk to each other’s homes are now separated by an electric steel wall 8 meters high.