International Rights Activists speak from Rafah

Published: Wed 14 Jan 2009 10:31 AM
International Human Rights Activists speak from Rafah
For Immediate Release
Human Rights Workers have reported from al- Awda hospital in Rafah following heavy Israeli attacks in the south of Gaza.
Irish Human Rights Activist Caoimhe Butterly said;
Due to the crippling effects of the almost two year long siege, the humanitarian infrastructure of Gaza was already in crisis. The ongoing onslaught and deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure has had devastating effect on all aspects of life, particularly in relation to Gaza's health sector. There is a desperate need for both the practical skills and solidarity of international medical workers, doctors, journalists and witnesses. With the killing of at least 12 Palestinian medical workers there is also a vital need for international accompaniment on Palestinian ambulances." - Caoimhe Butterly, Ireland
Israeli air-strikes have caused widespread destruction not only to medical centers and personnel, but they have also targeted vital civilian infrastructure in southern Gaza.
British Human Rights Activist Jenny Linnel reports;
“At approximately 3.00am on Sunday 11th January, Israeli F-16 fighter jets bombed the buildings of the Dar al-Fadila Association for Orphans, which included a school, a college, a computer center and a mosque, on Taha Hussein Street in the Kherbat al-'Adas neighbourhood in the north-east of Rafah. Parts of the buildings were totally destroyed and others were structurally damaged. The school had been assisting around 500 disadvantaged children.”-Jenny Linnel (UK) - International Solidarity Movement
Israel has previously suggested to widen their demolitions at Rafah's border with Egypt.
"....And if we return to Philadelphi, it will no longer be a mere 200 meters. It will have to be widened at the expense of the refugee camps in Rafah, which we will have to destroy, destroy and destroy." Arnon Sofer (1.Jerusalem Post, October 2007)
Referring to hundreds of homes that were demolished in Rafah along the Egyptian border in 2002 former Israeli OC Southern Command, Yom Tov Samiah, contended in an interview to the "Voice of Israel" on the 16 January 2002 that,
"These houses should have been demolished and evacuated a long time ago, because the Rafah border is not a natural border, it cannot be defended… Three hundred meters of the Strip along the two sides of the border must be evacuated… Three hundred meters, no matter how many houses, period."
The six hundred meter buffer zone that the former OC Southern Command of the Israeli Occupation Forces referred to seven years ago seems to be Israel's goal in the latest wave of demolitions.
International Solidarity Movement media coordinator Adam Taylor stated:
“Israel wants a buffer zone in Rafah in order to besiege Gaza more effectively. The tunnels that ran under the border with Egypt have become Gaza's life line during the prolonged Israeli siege and served as the only source for basic necessities such as fuel and medicine that Israel did not allow into the Gaza strip. This recent wide scale destruction of private property of the occupied people of Rafah is not a military necessity. One war crime is being committed in order to reinforce another - that of collective punishment.”

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