On Thursday, 17 August 2017 at 12:30 am, a suicide bomber blew himself up at one of the security posts in the border city of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. The 20-year-old attacker and a security officer were killed, and a number of other security personnel were injured.
According to the Ministry of Interior in Gaza, two individuals attempted to cross the border into Egypt at Al Shoka, southeast of Rafah crossing. While approaching the border, the two were caught by security officers and the perpetrator blew himself up. He killed security officer Nidal Jum’a Al Jaafari, 29, who was from Al Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah. Six other people, including five security officers, were injured in the explosion.
Al Mezan forcefully condemns this attack, which appears to have been carried out by a radical religious group. This incident warns of the immediate need to fundamentally alter the situation in Gaza.
In recognizing the role that poverty can assume in spurring radicalism, Al Mezan expresses serious concern at the continuation of the protracted humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which is a result of the closure and blockade policy and constant violence. The fragile situation in Gaza is also made worse by the internal Palestinian political division. These factors have left the civilian population living in dire conditions with a sense of hopelessness that is compounded by long periods marked by loss and violence. The continued failure of the international community in the face of this protracted crisis serves to further foment despair.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to take immediate and effective steps to end the over ten-year closure and blockade of the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian government in Ramallah must also retract its decisions on salary cuts and forced early retirement of Palestinian Authority employees in Gaza, which raise unemployment and deepen poverty. The Hamas and Fatah movements must work to restore democratic governance and counter radicalism by ending the political division. Further, the movements must join forces to improve the socioeconomic situation in Gaza, including by striving to bring an end to the closure and blockade policy and improving access to economic, social and cultural rights.