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All Eyes on Rafah: What happened in Rafah that has triggered worldwide protests? Explained

Hashtag #AllEyesOnRafah has garnered significant traction on social media platforms | On TikTok, it has over 1,95,000 posts and millions of views, while on Instagram, it was trending with nearly 1,00,000 posts

Written by  Jasleen Kaur -- May 29th 2024 01:16 PM
All Eyes on Rafah: What happened in Rafah that has triggered worldwide protests? Explained

All Eyes on Rafah: What happened in Rafah that has triggered worldwide protests? Explained

Israel-Gazah conflict: 'All Eyes on Rafah'  has become a globally recognised phrase, flooding social media with posts and images in support of Palestinians residing in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. This surge in attention comes amidst a severe and ongoing crisis, drawing international condemnation and prompting a wave of solidarity from people worldwide.

The Immediate Trigger


The immediate trigger for this global attention was a series of Israeli shelling and airstrikes over the weekend that killed at least 45 persons in Rafah. Most victims were civilians residing in tents, attempting to escape the conflict. The strikes, which also left hundreds with shrapnel and burn wounds, were launched late on Sunday and resulted in widespread outrage and condemnation from world leaders.

Despite a directive from the top UN court to halt operations in Rafah, Israeli forces pressed on with their assault. Israel termed the loss of life a "tragic accident," saying their munitions alone could not have caused the deadly blaze. The Israeli army stated that the operation targeted and killed two senior Hamas militants.


Global Outrage 

The deadly attack has sparked a global outcry against Israel. Social media platforms were inundated with posts denouncing the violence and expressing solidarity with the Palestinians. The phrase 'All Eyes on Rafah' became a rallying cry, symbolising the world's attention on the humanitarian crisis in the city.

The slogan was notably amplified by Iran's Embassy in India, which posted on X (formerly Twitter), highlighting the situation as part of an ongoing genocide. The post included an AI-generated image of tents in a camp arranged to spell out 'All Eyes on Rafah', illustrating the dire conditions in the area filled with refugee camps.

Historical Context 

The significance of Rafah in this conflict is not new. It is a city that has seen repeated violence and displacement, becoming a focal point in the Gaza Strip's long history of conflict. The current situation, however, has been exacerbated by intensified Israeli military operations targeting what are claimed to be the last Hamas strongholds. This has resulted in a massive displacement crisis, with over 1.4 million Palestinians seeking shelter in Rafah.

Rick Peeperkorn, director of the WHO’s Office of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, encapsulated the world's attention on Rafah with his February comment, "All eyes are on Rafah," following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's evacuation order ahead of planned attacks.


The phrase 'All Eyes on Rafah' has been adopted by numerous influencers and celebrities, particularly in India. Prominent figures such as actors Varun Dhawan, Aly Goni, Samantha Ruth Prabhu, and Tripti Dimri shared graphics and messages on their Instagram stories to raise awareness about the crisis.

Support groups and organisations such as Save the Children, Oxfam, Americans for Justice in Palestine Action, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign have also embraced the slogan. These groups are using it to highlight the urgent need for humanitarian aid and international intervention to stop the violence.

Social Media Impact

The hashtag #AllEyesOnRafah has garnered significant traction on social media platforms. On TikTok, it has over 1,95,000 posts and millions of views, while on Instagram, it was trending with nearly 1,00,000 posts as of Tuesday. This widespread social media activity underscores the global concern and the call for action to address the humanitarian crisis in Rafah.

- With inputs from agencies

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