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All Eyes on Rafah: Israel Bombs the Last Refugee Camp in Gaza. What Does That Change in the War?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

The conflict between Israel and Palestine has intensified over the years, and recently, one specific event attracted global attention: the bombing of the last refugee camp in Rafah, located in the south of the Gaza Strip. This act raises crucial questions about the direction and implications of the war.

Rafah, historically a point of refuge for many displaced Palestinians, became the center of attention when it was targeted by Israeli airstrikes. The consequences of this bombardment are vast and complex, affecting both the dynamics of the conflict and the international perception of the crisis.

Experts in international politics and human rights have debated the implications of this attack. According to Professor Yossi Mekelberg of Chatham House, “The bombing of Rafah represents a significant escalation in the conflict, which could have severe consequences for both regional stability and Israel’s international relations”.

The destruction of the Rafah refugee camp is not only a physical blow but also a symbolic attack on humanitarian assistance efforts in the region. John Ging, UNRWA’s former director of operations, commented: “When we attack places that are supposed to be safe for the most vulnerable, we are essentially undermining the very idea of humanitarian protection”. This attack puts at risk the work of several organizations operating in the Gaza Strip, exacerbating an already terrible humanitarian crisis.

International responses 

The international response to the bombing was swift. The European Union and the UN called for an immediate ceasefire and the protection of civilians in conflict areas. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, said: “Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are unacceptable and must stop immediately. The bombing in Rafah is a painful reminder of the urgent need to find a peaceful solution to the conflict”

In addition to the humanitarian implications, the attack on Rafah has the potential to change the military and political dynamics of the region. According to international conflict analyst Lisa Goldman, “the destruction of the Rafah refugee camp could trigger a series of retaliatory strikes and further escalate hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas” (The Intercept, 2024). This cycle of violence not only prolongs the conflict but also hinders any diplomatic progress.

Hard life in Rafah

For the inhabitants of Gaza, the bombing of Rafah is a tragedy that adds to a long list of suffering and losses. The destruction of their homes and shelters leaves thousands of people homeless, adding to the despair in a region already marked by a shortage of basic resources and extreme poverty.

Ultimately, the bombing of the Rafah refugee camp raises questions about the effectiveness of military policies and the need for more robust international intervention to protect civilians. The attack not only intensifies the conflict but also highlights the urgency of peace negotiations and the implementation of humanitarian protection measures.

The situation in Rafah is a stark reminder that war has an immense human cost and that the international community must redouble its efforts to find a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The world’s attention is now focused on Gaza, waiting for action that can bring relief and hope to a population that has suffered for so long.

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The article above was edited by Beatriz Gatz.

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Ana Laura Ayub

Casper Libero '27

Atualmente cursando o primeiro semestre de Jornalismo na Faculdade Cásper Líbero.