What is “All Eyes on Rafah”?: A Social Media Slogan Turned Social Advocacy Movement

Following an Israeli ground offensive operation in the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, an AI-generated image containing the slogan “All Eyes on Rafah” gained attention after over 40 million shares of the image on Instagram and over 195,000 posts with the hashtag #AllEyesOnRafah on TikTok, according to Forbes. Included in this discussion have been several popular public figures such as “Bridgerton” star Nicola Coughlan, model Bella Hadid, singer-songwriter Kehlani, and one of India’s top actors, Varun Dhawan.


The phrase comes from a comment made by the Director of the World Health Organization’s Office of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Rick Peeperkorn, who stated “All eyes are on Rafah” in February after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered an evacuation of the city in order to enact a planned attack to eliminate the “last remaining strongholds of the militant group Hamas”.


On May 24, 2024, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to halt its military operations in Rafah. On May 26, 2024, the Israeli military sent missiles into what they believed was a Hamas installation in Rafah that ended up killing 45 Palestinians and 2 senior Hamas militants. The strike sparked a fire that spread into a nearby neighborhood called Tal al-Sultan where many Palestinians were seeking shelter, burning down several houses and those residing within. A comment by Prime Minister Netanyahu states that the attack was “a tragic mistake” (Al Jazeera Staff). Just two days after this attack, the New York Times reported that an air strike conducted by the Israeli military killed 21 people in the city’s “safe zone” called al-Mawasi.


The slogan calls attention to the situation in Rafah, a city in the Gaza Strip near the border with Egypt, where Israeli military operations have resulted in the deaths of several Palestinians seeking shelter and safety in the city. The slogan has been spread widely through social media and can now be seen on protest posters and social media graphics.


In the coming days, action on the part of the Israeli military is unpredictable with the United States President stating “if they go into Rafah, I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities, to deal with that problem”. US-Israel relations are now up in the air with many White House officials claiming that Israel did not cross President Biden’s outlined red line. Spokesperson John Kirby supports this claim by telling BBC that there were “no policy changes to speak to” when answering a question about whether the strike on Rafah crossed President Biden’s limits to supporting Israel. However, Mr. Kirby went on to say, “We don’t support, we won’t support a major ground operation in Rafah”. The question is whether the recent attacks in the city constitute “a major ground operation”.

Written by Special Projects Intern, Amanda Nguyen


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Roeloffs, Mary Whitfill. “All Eyes on Rafah” Slogan Spreads on Social Media: What to Know about Its Origins.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 29 May 2024,

Shamim, Sarah. “What Is ‘All Eyes on Rafah’? Decoding a Viral Social Trend on Israel’s War.” Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 29 May 2024,“All%20eyes%20on%20Rafah”%20is%20an%20artificial%20intelligence%20

Staff, Al Jazeera. “What Happened When Israel Attacked Rafah?” Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera, 28 May 2024,

Yazbek, Hiba, and Abu Bakr Bashir. “Gazan Officials Say a Strike Killed 21 in Al-Mawasi.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 28 May 2024,