Rafah in the Gaza Strip

Friday, 8 January 2016 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Union for the Mediterranean
Reading Time:  3 minutes

Gaza Strip map © Gringer/cc-by-sa-3.0

Gaza Strip map © Gringer/cc-by-sa-3.0

Rafah is a Palestinian city and refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. It is the district capital of the Rafah Governorate, located 30 kilometers (19 mi) south of Gaza City. Rafah’s population of 153,000 (2014) is overwhelmingly made up of Palestinian refugees. Rafah camp and Tall as-Sultan camp form separate localities. When Israel withdrew from the Sinai in 1982, Rafah was split into a Gazan part and an Egyptian part, dividing families, separated by barbed-wire barriers. The core of the city was destroyed by Israel and Egypt to create a large buffer zone.

Rafah is the site of the Rafah Border Crossing, the sole crossing point between Egypt and the State of Palestine. Gaza’s only airport, Yasser Arafat International Airport, was located just south of the city. The airport operated from 1998 to 2001, until it was bombed and bulldozed by the Israeli military (IDF) after the killing of Israeli soldiers by members of Hamas.

Gaza Strip map © Gringer/cc-by-sa-3.0 Rafah Land Port - Road to Gaza © flickr.com - Al Jazeera English/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Rafah Land Port - Road to Gaza © flickr.com - Al Jazeera English/cc-by-sa-3.0
In May 2004, the Israeli Government led by, yet Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon approved another mass demolition of homes in Rafah. Therefore, he obtained the nickname “the bulldozer”. In September 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip and Rafah was divided, with parts of it on the Egyptian side of the border under Egyptian rule. To cope with the division of the town, smugglers made tunnels under the border, connecting the two parts and permitting the smuggling of goods and persons.

Since the beginning of 2015, Egypt plans to completely demolish his district for safety reasons. In a first phase, a 500-meter wide security strip along the 13.5 km-long border has already been set up to destroy all the smuggling tunnels there. Affected are 1165 families whose 820 houses were demolished largely without any penalty with one or two days warning time. In a second phase, this zone is widened to 1000 meters with 1220 houses and more than 2,000 families. At the end of the four-step plan, the buffer zone will be approximately five kilometers wide and include the entire Egyptian district, where currently around 75,000 people live.

Read more on Wikipedia Rafah (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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