The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

Appeal for Rafah City

18 May 2004

Dear Madam/Sir,

I write to you today with the high hopes that your consistent support to the Palestinian People and commitment to the peace process as the only way out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would translate into immediate and decisive actions to alleviate the suffering of the devastated Rafah families. As you are certainly aware, the Israeli aggression against Rafah and its refugee camps has been unabated for the past three years and a half, resulting in the dispossession as well as economic and psychological ruination of hundreds of Palestinian families. This ethnic cleansing campaign has literally altered the demographic and population concentrations in Rafah.

Given the latest escalation of the Israeli violence and aggression against the Palestinian People every where and in particular what is happening to Rafah city and Rafah People, we take this opportunity to appeal to you for immediate action.

In the past week, Israeli Tanks, Buldozers, have gone deep into the city killing 25 People, 15 of them were killed this morning in Tal Sultan area in Rafah and the other 10 were killed three days ago when the Israeli tanks and buldozers destroyed and demolished houses in Rafah, and injuring more than one Hundred , some of which are very seious. More that 160 families were left without shelter following the destruction of 120 houses sheltering 1170 persons, now living in tents, playgrounds, squares. The total Number of Houses demolished completely in Rafah since the start of the current Intifadah is about 1750 houses. Agricultural land and green houses were also buldozed. Roads, Water and waste water networks were destroyed. There is also a humanitarian crisis , where food, water, milk and medical supplies are not available in the city as it is isolated from the rest of the Gaza Strip for more than a week.

With these latest and dangerous developments in mind, we appeal to you to save and protect what is left of Rafah City and its infrastructure. We view the current situation with grave concern and we are certain that you share the same view. We appeal to help the alleviate the suffering of Rafah People, and help restore the destroyed infrastructure as soon as you can.

We trust that you will take the appropriate measures to ensure that the latest Israeli aggressive actions against the Palestinian People seize and desist.

Best Regards,

Dr. Emad S. Sha’at
Deputy Mayor Rafah City
Mobile 059 411 850

The Municipality of Rafah appeals to the international community to contribute to the following areas of assistance that is urgently required:

    1. Financing UNRWA programs of reconstruction
    2. Supporting UNRWA’s Food Aid programs
    3. Budget support to:

      a. UNRWA
      b. Local Government institutions (Municipality, PWA, PEA):

        i. Water & Sanitation rehabilitation
        ii. Infrastructure
        iii. Environment and Solid Waste

    4. Promoting health services by assisting the only hospital available in Rafah in Coordination with Ministry of Health, through:

      a. Immediate medical aid
      b. Medical equipment

    5. Job creation programs

General Statistics*

Since the beginning of the Intifada 28/09/2001 to date:

■ The World Bank identified Rafah as the poorest city in Palestine
■ Total no. of deaths 370 Martyr (56 of them are children under 18 years old)
■ Total no. of Injured over 3500
■ 3,343 donums razed
■ Unemployment rate 70%
■ Poverty rate 82%