’All eyes on Rafah’: Israel counters new trend with ’what your eyes fail to see’ | Explained

As 'All eyes on Rafah' trends on social media, Israel took to X to make a counter-attack against those condemning the strike against Hamas leaders in the Gazan city of Rafah.

Akriti Anand
First Published29 May 2024
Rafah news: Demonstrators wave a Palestine flag during a pro-Palestinian rally called Urgent action for Rafah, in front of the Israeli embassy in Mexico City on May 29, 2024.
Rafah news: Demonstrators wave a Palestine flag during a pro-Palestinian rally called Urgent action for Rafah, in front of the Israeli embassy in Mexico City on May 29, 2024. (AFP)

"All eyes on Rafah" massively trended on social media after Israel pounded Rafah, a southern city in war-torn Gaza, last Sunday. Social media users widely shared and reposted an "AI-generated" graphic that read "All eyes on Rafah" to condemn the killing of over 40 Palestine civilians in Rafah.

Israel has now countered the "All eyes on Rafah" social media trends with the phrase "What your eyes fail to see". The Netanyahu-led country highlighted the Palestinian militant group Hamas taking Israeli men, women, and children as hostages and keeping them "in horrible conditions".

The Israel Foreign Ministry reposted a tweet made by the Embassy of the State of Israel in India that read: "What your eyes fail to see is the cries of 125 Israeli men, women, children, and elderly currently held hostage by Hamas in horrible conditions deep in the tunnels of Gaza."

"This is why the conflict began. Knowing the full story is important before making any comments. We will not rest until EACH AND EVERY ONE of the hostages is home," the embassy posted on X on Wednesday.

The Israel embassy was referring to Hamas's surprise attacks in parts of Israel on October 7 last year, that prompted Israel to wage a war against the militant group. As per reports, around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, had died in the October 7 attacks. Militants allegedly took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead, news agency AFP reported.

What does 'All Eyes on Rafah' mean?

Iran's Embassy in India had posted on X on Tuesday that "All eyes on Rafah" is a phrase that refers to the "ongoing genocide in Rafah, Gaza, with over 1.4 million Palestinians seeking shelter".

Social media hashtags like "#AllEyesOnRafah" and "#RafahOnFire" trended after an Israeli strike targeting two Hamas leaders allegedly ignited a massive fire at a camp housing in Rafah for displaced people. At least 45 civilians were killed and 200 others were injured in the attack.

Israel has reportedly been pounding Rafah since May 7. The United Nations had earlier warned that up to 1.4 million people were sheltering in the city. Since then, one million have fled the area, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said on Monday.

Israel had launched the strikes on Sunday despite an order by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) directing it to stop its operations in Rafah and withdraw from the enclave.

The ICJ had ruled on Friday, “Israel must immediately halt its military offensive and any other action in the Rafah Governorate which may inflict on the Palestinian group in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part."

Before launching strikes in Rafah, the Israeli Defence Forces claimed that a "barrage of rockets was launched from Rafah toward central Israel moments ago".

What Israel said as Rafah offensive continues

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) denied hitting the Rafah tents in a video message released late Tuesday. “Despite our efforts to minimize civilian casualties during the strike, the fire that broke out was unexpected and unintended...Our investigation seeks to determine what may have caused such a large fire to ignite," an IDF spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, "In Rafah, we have evacuated about one million civilians. Tragically, despite our immense efforts to avoid harming non-combatants, an incident occurred yesterday. We are investigating it thoroughly and will learn from it, as is our policy and longstanding conduct."

Netanyahu said if Israel surrenders, “we will not bring back all our hostages. If we surrender, we will deliver a great victory to terrorism, to Iran, and to the entire axis of evil—those who wish us dead.”

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