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In the wake of Israel’s recent airstrikes in southern Gaza, the phrase “All Eyes On Rafah” has taken over social media, with mixed support and criticism from users.
Over the past week, the phrase “All Eyes On Rafah” has dominated social media trending topics. It was spurred on by the news of Israel’s military committing airstrikes on the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip near the Egyptian border, where millions of Palestinians already displaced by Israel’s ongoing conflict with the Hamas militant organization have fled.

An AI-generated image of dozens of tents side by side in a serene desert landscape with structures in the center spelling out the phrase has been circulated more than 40 million times on Instagram alone. Numerous celebrities including comedian Hasan Minhaj have also shared the image through their social media accounts.

The origins of the phrase lie in the comments made by Richard “Rik” Peeperkorn, the head of the World Health Organization’s offices in Gaza and the West Bank region at a news conference as the Israeli Defense Forces began to ramp up its strikes in southern Gaza. Pro-Palestinian groups and activists began to use “All Eyes On Rafah” in their messaging in addition to humanitarian groups such as Oxfam. The AI image might’ve gained such traction because it isn’t “massively dangerous or controversial”, according to social media consultant Matt Navarra in an interview with Sky News.

The current wave comes after a deadly strike on Sunday (May 26) hit an encampment of displaced Palestinians, setting tents on fire and killing 45 people, according to medics on the ground. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “tragic incident” as world leaders including the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres blasted the action in a post on X, formerly Twitter saying, “This horror must stop.”


The “All Eyes On Rafah” image has drawn criticism from some online, who feel that more accurate and graphic images of the violence and suffering of the 1.4 million displaced Palestinians should be shown to the public. Others have felt that sharing the AI-generated image is engaging in “slacktivism”,  conspicuously showing support for a cause but not actually taking real steps to help.

But others see it as useful to draw more attention to the cries of the Palestinian people.

We’ve collected notable responses from users on social media to provide a clearer picture of the issue below.

1. Shayan Saridarzadeh

2. Myxaslytherin

3. Georgia Kumari Bradburn

4. sulkycatz

5. Jason Okundaye

6. Majid Jordan

7. Sam Missingham

8. International Rescue Committee