‘All Eyes On Rafah’ mantra spreads on social media: It was first spoken by…
NEW YORK: (Web Desk) As Israel has intensified genocidal airstrikes on heavily populated city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, a months-old campaign with the slogan "All Eyes on Rafah" has picked up steam, particularly in western Europe, Australia and India.

 This is a call for awareness of the ongoing war from activists and humanitarian groups.

"All eyes are on Rafah" slogan was commented in February by Rick Peeperkorn, director of the World Health Organization’s Office of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He said this days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered an evacuation plan be created for the city ahead of planned attacks on the Palestinian region.

The phrase is meant as a request for bystanders to not look away from what’s happening in the city of Rafah—where as many as 1.4 million people are sheltering after fleeing from violent fighting elsewhere in Gaza—as Israel continues its offensive despite the large civilian population.

Organizations and lobbying groups like Save the Children, Oxfam, Americans for Justice in Palestine Action, Jewish Voice for Peace and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign then repeated the slogan, and it has been used as a rallying cry at protests in Paris, London, the Netherlands, New York City, Los Angeles and beyond.

A number of celebrities in India, including actors Varun Dhawan, Aly Goni, Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Tripti Dimri, posted identical “All Eyes on Rafah” graphics to their Instagram stories Tuesday, and other celebrities who have spoken out include Australian cricket player Travis Head, British singer Leigh-Anne Pinnock, model Bella Hadid and actresses Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Susan Sarandon.

There are more than 195,000 posts with millions of views for the hashtag #AllEyesOnRafah on TikTok and the topic was trending on Instagram on Tuesday, on which another almost 100,000 posts have been made, Forbes reported.

The most popular videos on TikTok have come from Palestinian American pop singer Zach Matari, whose posts with the slogan have racked up millions of views this month, and a number of other pro-Palestinian creators including Lubna Alhilo, Liz Kuhn and Reema Bassoumi also account for some of the most popular videos.

Israel has faced international outrage since a strike Sunday that was targeting a Hamas compound ended up killing dozens of people in Rafah, including civilians. Netanyahu on Monday said the civilian deaths were a "tragic accident," but assaults continued Tuesday, The New York Times reported. Another 21 people were reportedly killed after an airstrike on a "humanitarian area" in west Rafah, AFP reported, though the Israeli army has denied involvement.

The possibility of mass casualties in Rafah has been floated for months as Israel pushes to eliminate remaining outposts of Hamas, the militant group that attacked the country last October and sparked a bloody war in the Middle East. In February, Israeli officials said Rafah was the last place in Gaza with a powerful Hamas presence and announced its plans to move forward with attacks.