26 May 2004 – Israel's recent weeklong military raid into the Gaza Strip town of Rafah left more than 2,000 Palestinians homeless, bringing to nearly 3,500 the total of those whose residences were demolished or rendered uninhabitable since the beginning of the month, according to a full United Nations assessment released today.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said it had now completed its evaluation of the raid from 18 to 24 May, in which 167 buildings housing 379 families, or 2,066 people, were destroyed or damaged beyond repair in the Tel Sultan, Brazil and Salam quarters of Rafah.
The latest destruction comes on top of what had already been one of the worst months in the Palestinian uprising. Since 1 May, 277 buildings housing 641 families, or 3,451 people, have been demolished in Rafah, the Agency said. Since the uprising started in September 2000, 1,476 buildings have been demolished in Rafah, affecting 14,666 people.
Last week, the Security Council adopted a resolution voicing grave concern over the humanitarian situation of Palestinians made homeless and calling for the provision of emergency assistance. It reminded Israel that it must respect international humanitarian law, including its obligation not to destroy homes. UNRWA has been working to provide shelter to homeless families in the area.