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Date posted: January 20, 2003
By Darren Ell





1. The radar station of the Gaza International Airport in Rafah, destroyed by Israeli air strikes in December 2001. The Airport was a symbol of independence and freedom of movement for Palestinians.

2. The lone runway at the Gaza International Airport, destroyed by Israeli bulldozers in December, 2001.

3. Salah al-Din Gate, The Gate of Death as it is called by residents of Rafah, is the scene of nightly battles between Israeli tanks and Palestinian fighters. The street, its businesses and homes lay in ruins.

4. The Israeli army has destroyed over 351 homes and damaged 511 in the Rafah neighborhoods of occupied Gaza, along the Egyptian border. This work is being done to make way for a gigantic steel wall on which Israel began construction in October 2002. Seen through the demolished home of a Block O resident, an Israeli crane sinks sections of the wall into the earth.

5. Seen from the bedroom window of a Block O resident, an Israeli bulldozer, protected by Israeli tanks, clears land in Block O.

6. Block O residents stand near their home as Israeli bulldozers demolish the neighborhood.

7. A Palestinian grandmother and her family stand in their former home watching the bulldozers work.

8. Grandmother weeping at the loss of her home. Daily, residents of Block O stand helplessly watching their homes be destroyed by armored bulldozers flanked by Israeli tanks. Human rights groups in Palestine and Israel condemn the demolitions as serious violations of humanitarian law. Destruction of property in occupied territories is forbidden under article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

9. Looking west towards Block J and the sea. Hundreds of homes once stood here.

10. Salah al-Din Gate. "The Gate of Death" as it is called by residents of Rafah, is the scene of nightly battles between Israeli tanks and Palestinian fighters. The street, its businesses and homes lay in ruins.

11. Interior of a bullet-ridden home near the wall. As of November 2002, the city of Rafah has suffered more death and injury per capita than any city in Palestine during the Al-Aqsa Intifada: 215 dead, 2451 injuries and over 811 life-saving operations.

12. Asmaa' al-Masri, 31 years of age, mother of 4, was critically wounded by shrapnel to the leg, abdomen and chest from an Israeli attack on her home in Block J on 13 November 2002. Her 2-year-old son, Hamed Asad Hassan al-Masri, was killed by a live bullet to the chest. That evening, Israeli occupation forces began shelling Block J in Rafah refugee camp, forcing the family to flee their home. As they center the house, Hamed was hit by a bullet fired by the occupation forces.

13. On October 17th, 2002, one day after the beginning of the construction of the wall, Israeli 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 41 others wounded in the attack.

14. Boys throwing stones at Israeli bulldozers demolishing homes in Block O. Fifteen Palestinian children were killed in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Israeli troops in November 2112 alone.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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-2112, Israel had already destroyed as many homes as it did the previous year.

19. Block O residents move their belongings in anticipation of the demolition of their home by the Israeli forces. 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.

20. Poster of adolescents and children killed in Rafah during the Al-Aqsa Intifada.

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