Wednesday, December 30, 2009

PCHR weekly report 23-29/12/2009: 3 Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli missile

extracts from PCHR weekly report No. 51/2009 23- 29 Dec 2009

Saturday, 26 December 2009 

At approximately 00:30, Israeli troops stationed at observation towards along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the north of Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at a number of Palestinians who got close to the border.  The Israeli gunfire lasted for approximately 20 minutes, after which an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at the Palestinians.  As a result, 3 Palestinians were killed:

1.    Basheer Suleiman Mousa Abu Duhail, 20;
2.     Mahmoud Jom'a Ibrahim al-Sharat'ha, 19; and
3.    Hani Salem Mohammed Abu Ghazal, 20.  

The victims are all from al-Nasser village (the Bedouin Village) to the north of Beit Lahia.  They were unarmed and were apparently attempting to infiltrate into Israel to search for jobs.  A fourth Palestinian survived the attack. Israeli occupation forces did not allow medical crews to enter the area to evacuate the bodies until approximately 15:00.  Eventually, medical crews were allowed to enter the area and evacuate the bodies at approximately 16:15.

Monday, 28 December 2009  

At approximately 10:45, Israeli occupation forces moved into 150 meters into the north of Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip.  They leveled area of Palestinian land, which they had already razed.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

cemetery casualties

In Gaza

Mohammed Abu Sharrar (22) was with 3 friends, walking to the eastern cemetery, east of Jabaliya, early on 27 November when he was hit by the shrapnel. Said Sharrar, “a UAV (drone) dropped a missile next to me. I was hurt the worst.”
Around 6 am and quiet, according to Sharrar, there was no activity in the area, no reason for the Israeli army to target them.
“It was the first day of ‘Eid. We were going to visit the grave of a friend who was killed one year earlier, also during ‘Eid.”
Sharrar, a volunteer with the Red Crescent, was accompanied by three other volunteer medics when targeted.
“We were well over 1 kilometer from the border fence,” he said. “I didn’t hear or know of any problems in the area.”
For the next 8 days, Sharrar was in critical condition, kept on a mechanical respirator. For a total of 11 days, he was in a coma.
Now conscious and in Beit Lahiya’s Kamal Adwan hospital, Sharrar is awaiting permission for transfer to Egypt for removal of the shrapnel still in his body.
“I’ve got shrapnel in my legs, stomach and back. My legs broken as well, one in three places.”
But it’s the shrapnel near his spinal cord that is the most problematic.
“There are no specialists in Gaza who can safely remove the shrapnel.”
From a family of eleven, Sharrar was one of the only members with work.

Days later, Shahin Abu Ajuwa (17) returned for his second time to land near the eastern cemetery to gather stones and blocks of concrete from demolished houses and buildings to re-sell for construction uses. On that morning, Ajuwa was with three other youths, among them his cousin Saber Abu Ajuwa (15).
“We were over 600 metres from the border. We were in an area where many people go daily to collect metal and stones,” Ajuwa said. “The Israelis always see people working here, it’s normal.”
Ajuwa recalls having seen Israeli military jeeps and a tank at the border, also normal.
As they worked next to their donkey cart, still before 9 am, Israeli soldiers fired a flechette shell at them, without warning. Flechette shells, otherwise known as dart bombs, are deadly shells packed with thousands of razor-sharp, inches long darts. The design enables the darts to bore through bone, cement, flesh, and break apart upon entry, rendering the injury even worse. Often, those injured by flechettes have pieces of the darts in them for life due to the danger and difficulty of extracting them.
Israel’s use of flechette bombs is in contravention to the Geneva conventions, particularly in using them against unarmed civilians. B’Tselem, an Israeli rights group, reported that at least 17 Palestinians were killed by dart bombs from 2000 through the 18 April 2008 killing of a Palestinian cameraman and three other civilians, including two minors, by a flechette bomb in Gaza. This was prior to the Israeli war on Gaza in winter 2008-2009, during which Israeli soldiers again used the dart bombs in dense civilian areas. Tens of civilians were injured and killed, including medics answering a call when fired upon.
Marwan, a medic with the Jabaliya Red Crescent centre, was called to the scene.
“Just before 9 am we were dispatched to the martyrs’ cemetery to bring in some wounded,” he said. “I went with Mohammed, another medic, and found the youths roughly 700m from the border fence. There was one youth badly injured. He had been loaded onto the donkey cart.”
Weeks later, Ajuwa still has shrapnel from the dart bomb in both his legs.
“The doctors removed one from my leg, but there are still six more left.”
The teen, is one of eight sons, has five sisters, and the 10 or 20 shekels he might have earned that day would have gone towards his family income.
He is among over 30 reported injured in the border region [at least another 8 have been killed in the border region] by Israeli soldiers.
*Shahin Abu Ajuwa (left) with cousin Saber.
*Attached to the donkey cart, this iron rod was blown open by the blast

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

PCHR weekly report 10-15/12/2009: 1 Palestinian civilian killed, 2 boys detained and beaten

Thursday, 10 December 2009

At approximately 11:30, Israeli forces moved into al-Sikka Street in the north of Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip.  They arrested Mohammed Hatem al-Kafarna, 16, and Mahmoud Jameel al-Yazji, 16, when they were collecting stones and iron from destroyed buildings, nearly 500 meters away from the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.  Israeli forces violently beat and interrogated the two children, then released them at approximately 21:30 on the same day.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

At approximately 06:20, Israeli troops positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of al-Boreij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian houses located almost 700 meters away from the border.  As a result, Sami Shihda Abu Khousa, 48, was seriously wounded by several gunshots to the thighs.  He was evacuated to the hospital, but medical efforts to save his life failed and he was pronounced dead two hours later. 

In his testimony to PCHR, Maher Hassan Abu Khousa, 36, a victim's cousin, stated:

"At approximately 06:20 on Saturday, 12 December 2009, I was at home, nearly 700 meters away from the border with Israel, east of al-Boreij refugee camp.  Suddenly, I heard explosions.  Soon after, IOF troops opened fire at our houses.  I learnt that resistance activists fired some projectiles at the border, and IOF troops repeated fire.  I stepped up on the stairs to see what was going one.  I then heard someone screaming: 'Save me Maher.'  I looked towards the direction of the voice and saw my cousin Sami Shihda 'Abdullah Abu Khousa, 48, on the ground under an awning between my house and his. I realized that he was wounded.  I rushed down and informed my brothers.  I turned on my car and my cousin's son carried his father who was bleeding from the thighs.  We put him into the car and traveled towards al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, but as he was in a serious condition, he was transferred to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.  Two hours later, we were informed the he died of his wound."


Saturday, December 12, 2009

IOF soldiers kill Palestinian citizen in central Gaza

[ 12/12/2009 - 10:06 AM ]

BREIJ, (PIC)-- A Palestinian man was shot and killed by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) east of Breij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip on Saturday, medical sources reported.

They told the PIC that Sami Abu Khosa, 45, was hit with several bullets in the abdomen and other parts of his body and his condition was critical.

The citizen was admitted into ICU but died of his wounds shortly afterwards, the sources said.

IOF soldiers opened machinegun fire at the area east of Breij hitting and killing Abu Khosa.

Medics: Israeli fire kills Gaza man

Published today (updated) 12/12/2009 13:31

Gaza – Ma'an – Israeli shelling killed a Palestinian civilian in the central Gaza Strip on Saturday, a medical official said.

The victim was identified as Sami Shihadah Abu Khousah, 47.

Muawiyah Hassanein, de facto Health Ministry director of ambulance and emergency services, told Ma'an that Khousah suffered blood loss after he was struck by Israeli artillery east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.

Khousah was transferred from Shuhada Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah to Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where he died, Hassanein said.

Palestinian eyewitnesses reported clashes in the area where Khousah was injured. They said Palestinian fighters exchanged fire with the Israeli military, which fired artillery shells.

Israel's army confirmed involvement. A military spokeswoman told Ma'an that Palestinians first opened fire near the border with Israel, and that Israeli forces returned fire toward its source.

The official said she was unaware of any casualties on the Palestinian side. No Israeli soldiers were injured during the clashes, she added.

Meanwhile, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility for firing a rocket-propelled grenade at Israeli forces operating in northern Gaza.

An Israeli military official said she was not familiar with that incident.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

IOF Penetrates and Attacks the Border Area, Arrest Two Children in Gaza

Al Mezan


At approximately 12:30pm on Thursday 10 December 2009, an Israeli force penetrated approximately 350 meters into the north of the Gaza Strip, into an area of demolished industrial premises southwest of Erez Crossing. Palestinians who were removing rubble from the area were present there when the IOF advanced.
The Israeli force arrested two children; Mahmoud Jamil Hassan Al Yazji, Mohammed Hatem Qassem Al Kafarna(16 and 17 respectively), and took them into Israel. A few hours later, the IOF released Mohammed Al Kafarna while Mahmoud Al Yazji has remained in detention. This is the second time in which the IOF invade this area and arrest Palestinian civilians.
According to Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights lawyer, the IOF transferred the child Mahmoud Al Yazji to Ashkelon prison and interrogated him. On Sunday 13 December 2009, the Israeli court extended the detention period until Friday 18 December 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

PCHR report 25/11 - 2/12/09: Palestinian injured and abducted

excerpt from PCHR weekly report No. 47/2009 25 Nov.- 02 Dec 2009

Friday, 27 November 2009

· At approximately 05:00, Israeli forces fired a missile at a number of activists of the Palestinian resistance who were near a cemetery in the east of Jabalya town in the northern Gaza Strip, launching home-made rockets towards Israel. Four activists were wounded, one of whom was in a serious condition.

Monday, 30 November 2009
At approximately 11:00, Israeli forces moved nearly 600 meters into the east of Jabalya town in the northern Gaza Strip. Until 18:30, they leveled areas of land which they had already razed.

Wednesday, 02 December 2009
At approximately 09:00, Israeli troops positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northwest of Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip fired at a Palestinian who was near the border. He has not been identified and his destiny is still unknown. Later, Israeli forces informed the Palestinian side that he was wounded in the feet and that he was arrested.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Medics: Israeli forces shoot, detain Gaza man

Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli forces shot and detained a Palestinian on the Gaza Strip’s northern border on Wednesday morning, a government medical official said.

Muawiyah Hassanein, the director of ambulance and emergency services in the Gaza Health Ministry, told Ma’an that the Israeli forces opened fire on a man who has not yet been identified, injuring him.

Hassanein said the soldiers denied a Palestinian ambulance permission to retrieve him, leaving him bleeding near the border.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that Israeli forces shot the man after he ignored warning shots for approaching the border. She said soldiers administered initial medical treatment before transferring him to Barzilai hospital in the city of Ashkelon.

Hassanein said the Health Ministry is in contact with the Israeli military to find out the wounded man’s to try to return him to Gaza.

Witnesses: Israeli forces open fire in northern Gaza

Published Monday 30/11/2009 (updated) 01/12/2009 16:00

Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli forces opened fire at houses and farmland in the northern Gaza Strip on Monday, eyewitnesses told Ma’an.

The witnesses said Israeli forces opened fire while withdrawing from an area southeast of the town of Beit Hanoun where they had entered in the morning.

The area where fire was reported was approximately 800 meters from the Green Line in the agricultural lands of Abu Sufiyah, according to Palestinian sources in the area.

No injuries were reported, according to Muawiyah Hassanein, the director of ambulance and emergency services for the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

An Israeli military spokeswoman denied this report, saying, "The IDF conducted regular military activities today on the border and did not open fire, nor did they come under fire during these activities."

Meanwhile, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades, claimed responsibility for firing a homemade projectile toward Israeli forces attempting to enter Gaza via the Nahal Oz crossing.

Israeli forces patrol inside the Gaza Strip along the border with Israel on a daily basis. There are frequent reports of Palestinians coming under fire simply for setting foot inside this band.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Four Palestinians wounded as a result of Israeli shelling in northern Gaza

[ 27/11/2009 - 06:46 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Four Palestinians were wounded on Friday morning near the Martyrs cemetery to the east of Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, when Israeli tanks fired at Palestinian citizens visiting their relatives tombs on the first day of Eid al-Adha.
Dr. Muaweyah Hasanin, head of the emergency department at the health ministry, told PIC that Israeli planes and tanks targeted a number of Palestinians on their way to visit the tombs of their relatives wounding four of them.
He added that ambulances transported the wounded to Maryr Kamal Odwan hospital in Beit Lahya, and described the condition of two of the wounded as serious and the other two as moderate.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, like in the rest of Palestine, are used to visiting the tombs of their relatives after the Eid prayers in the morning.
The Martyrs cemetery in Jabalya is one of main cemeteries in the Gaza Strip.

Monday, November 23, 2009

PCHR weekly report 12-18/11/2009: 1 children killed, 1 wounded, 2 other Palestinian civilians injured, 4 arrested, 4 incursions

 Friday, 13 November 2009

At approximately 10:00, Israeli troops positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of Gaza Valley village, southeast of Gaza City, opened fire at 7 Palestinian children and young men who were traveling on an animal cart towards the village.  As a result, Mustafa Mohammed Sabri Wadi, 15, was killed, and Ahmed Khader Sa'doun, 17, was wounded by two gunshots to the abdomen and the thigh.  Soon after, Israeli forces moved nearly 300 meters into the area, and arrested 4 of these civilians, including the wounded child. The detainees were released later, excluding the wounded child who was taken to an Israeli hospital.  According to one of the released detainees, the seven children and young men were on their way back from a market in Gaza City traveling on an animal cart.  They saw a number of dogs.  Five of them chased the dogs towards a solid waste plant, which is nearly 300 meters away from the border, and continued to chase them up to 150 meters away from the border.  Israeli troops positioned at the border opened fire at them, so they attempted to hide behind a hill of sand, but gunshots hit two of them.  Soon after, Israeli forces moved into the area and arrested them.  According to medical sources, Wadi was hit by two gunshots to the head and the left foot.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

At approximately 08:30, Israeli troops positioned to the east of Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, north of Beit Hanoun, opened fire at a number of Palestinian civilians who were hunting birds nearly 500 meters away from the border.  As a result, Amjad Sa'ad Hassanain, 27, was wounded by a gunshot to the left shoulder.

At approximately 10:30, Israeli troops positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun opened fire at a number of Palestinian civilians who were on their agricultural lands, nearly 400 meters away from the border.  When the farmers attempted to flee from the area, Israeli troops fired at them again.  As a result, Mahmoud Mohammed Shawish, 29, was wounded by a gunshot to the feet.  

At approximately 12:30, Israeli forces moved nearly 500 meters into Palestinian areas located to the north of the Bedouin village in the northern Gaza Strip.  Until 17:00, they leveled areas of land, which had previously been razed. 
Wednesday, 18 November 2009  

At approximately 11:30, Israeli forces moved nearly 300 meters into al-Farrahin area in 'Abassan village, east of Khan Yunis.  Until 16:00, they leveled areas of land, which they had already razed.

At approximately 12:30, Israeli forces moved nearly 250 meters into Khuza'a village, east of Khan Yunis.  Until 15:30, they leveled areas of land, which they had already razed.    

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Israeli forces shoot at Gaza bird-catchers, farmers

Eva Bartlett | The Electronic Intifada
20 November 2009

 Farmer Mahmoud Mohammed Shawish Zaneen was shot in both his legs while planting wheat east of Beit Hanoun. (Eva Bartlett)
Farmer Mahmoud Mohammed Shawish Zaneen was shot in both his legs while planting wheat east of Beit Hanoun. (Eva Bartlett)
On 15 November at 8:30am, a number of young men went as usual to the land near Gaza’s northern border with Israel planning to catch birds. Amjad Hassanain, 27, was among the bird-catchers hunting near the border fence when Israeli soldiers began shooting.
The shots which missed the other bird-catchers hit Hassanain, grazing his shoulder. Cameraman Abdul Rahman Hussain, filming in the vicinity, reports having seen the group of bird-catches head north.
“We were near the former Israeli settlement of Doghit,” said Hussain, referring to the area northwest of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.
“I had gone to the border area to photograph a young bird-catcher. We were about 400 meters from the border fence, but when we heard the shooting, we moved back to around one kilometer.”
According to Hussain, the other men had to carry the wounded Hassanain one kilometer from the site of injury, then transferred him to a motorcycle and finally to a car.
“He was covered in blood, I couldn’t tell where he was hit,” said Hussain.
There to document the work of bird-catchers, Hussain was surprised by the shooting.
“They always go there to catch birds. They put their nets close to the fence in order to catch as many as possible.” Like the bird-catchers, Hussain believed the Israeli soldiers along the border were familiar enough with the bird catching activity that they wouldn’t shoot.
Two hours later, Mahmoud Mohammed Shawish Zaneen and seven other farmers took a break from their work plowing land east of Beit Hanoun.
“We had three tractors with us. We’d been working since 8am, planting wheat. At first we worked about 450 meters from the border fence, but later we were 700 meters away,” he explained.
The farmers had paused to drink tea when Israeli soldiers began shooting.
Zaneen added, “The tractors were stopped and we were sitting on them. There were about seven Israeli soldiers, on foot. They shot the other tractors and then shot mine. They didn’t give us any warning, just started shooting.”
The bullet which pierced Zaneen’s left calf continued into his right calf.
Since the end of last winter’s Israeli invasion of Gaza, at least nine Palestinians have been killed, and another more than 34 injured, by Israeli shooting and shelling in the border areas in Gaza’s north and east.
Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who arrived in Gaza in November 2008 on the third Free Gaza Movement boat. She has been volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement and documenting Israel’s ongoing attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. During Israel’s recent assault on Gaza, she and other ISM volunteers accompanied ambulances and documenting the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

IOF Incursion into Eastern Khan Younis Town of Abassan Al-Kabeera

Al Mezan


At app. 9am on Wednesday 18 November 2009, a group of IOF military vehicles moved into the town of Abassan Al Kabeera, east to Khan Younis near the border between Gaza and Israel, for nearly 200m. IOF bulldozers leveled agricultural fields. The same fields had been razed by IOF frequently. At app. 4pm on the same day, the IOF withdrew from the area.

IOF Incursion into Erez Industrial Zone, Arrests 8 including a Child

Al Mezan


IOF Incursion into Erez Industrial Zone, Arrests 8 including a Child
At app. 10:30am on Wednesday 18 November 2009, a force from the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) moved approximately 300 meters into the north of the Gaza Strip. The unit moved firing intensively. It took positions in industrial premises that had been destroyed by IOF prior to the Israeli redeployment around from the Gaza Strip in 2005. The force rounded a group of Palestinian workers who were removing rubble from the area and arrested 8 of them; including a child, and took them to Israel. In the evening hours of the same day all the detainees were released. The unit withdrew with two donkey carts, which the workers used to remove the rubble of destroyed buildings. IOF moved the two carts to the Palestinian side an hour later. Al Mezan's investigations indicated that the workers remove the rubble of the destroyed buildings and sell it to brick factories, which recycle it into bricks. This is the only source of bricks for construction that is available in the Gaza Strip, which suffers from acute shortage in construction materials due the Israeli siege.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Medics: Gaza farmer wounded by Israeli fire

Published today (updated) 15/11/2009 13:15

Gaza – Ma'an – A Palestinian farmer was injured by Israeli fire east of the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, medics said.

According to medical sources at Beit Hanoun Hospital, the farmer sustained several gunshots wounds in both feet while he was tending his land.

Local sources in Beit hanoun identified the farmer as 28-year-old Mahmoud Za’anin.

In a separate incident, a Palestinian bird hunter was injured east of Erez border crossing with Israel.

According to Hussein Hammad, a researcher for the for Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, Israeli forces shot 28-year-old Amjad Hussein and injured him in the back.

Meanwhile the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) claimed responsibility on Sunday for shooting at an Israeli tractor driver near the Sufa border terminal in the southern Gaza Strip.

The group said in a statement, “We will continue to resist and counter occupation by all means.”

In response to initial inquiry about the shooting of the farmer and the PFLP's claims, an Israeli military spokesperson said the incidents were under investigation.

IOF Opens Fire at Palestinian Farmers East of Biet Hanoun; Injure One

At approximately 10:20am on Sunday 15 November 2009, IOF opened fire from Erez Crossing at Palestinian farmers who were in their farms at An-Nazaz neighborhood east of Biet Hanoun town. The farmers were approximately 700 meters from the border fence; well far from the announced 300-meter zone. As a result, Mahmoud Mohammed Al-Zaa’neen, 30, was injured in the legs. According to medical sources at Beit Hanoun Hospital, the injuries are moderate.

IOF Kill Child; Arrest Four by Gaza Border. Al Mezan Condemns IOF Violations; Call for International Protection of Civilians


Al Mezan  88/2009

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights condemns the murder by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) of a child and arrest of four civilians; all of whom are 17 and 18-year-olds near the Gaza border with Israel. IOF opened fire at seven children and youths as they were new the border in the Wadi Gaza village, south to Gaza City. The children were unarmed and did not pose any danger on IOF.

According to information collected by Al Mezan Centre, at approximately 9.30am on Friday 13 November 2009, IOF opened machinegun and artillery fire towards a group of seven children and youths who were near the solid waste dump, which is located northeast of Wadi Gaza village. One child, 16-yearold Mustafa Mohammed Wadi, was killed from IOF fire. Another child, 17-year-old Ahmed Sa'doun, was injured. A force of IOF ground troops entered the area and chased them and arrested four of them.

According to an affidavit given to Al Mezan Centre by 18-year-old Ahmad Salman Al-Makadma, 18, who was among the group, the seven children and youths left their neighborhood in Block 9 in the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the early morning hours on a horse-laden cart and headed to the Friday Market in Gaza City. On their way back, they passed by the solid-waste dumb in Wadi Gaza village. Five of them saw stray dogs and chased them near the border. Israeli forces saw them and opened fire at them, killing one and injuring another. Ground troops then entered the area and arrested four. Another two; managed to escape; Ahmed and his brother Saif Al-Makadma, 7.

Al Mezan knew that those who were arrested were:
-          Mohammed Khader Sa'doun, 18;
-          Ahmed Khader Sa'doun, 17; (who was also injured)
-          Nidal Rajab Abu Hajar, 18; and
-          Bakir Sa'eed Al-Makadma, 18.

Ahmed Al-Makadma informed Al Mezan that he called the emergency services when he escaped from the area. Sources in the Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported that two of the Society's ambulances reached the area after ICRC coordinated for them with the IOF. The ambulances team found the body of the murdered child laid on the ground approximately one kilometer from the border fence.

Al Mezan Centre strongly condemns the continued acts of killing by the IOF in the Gaza Strip, which more than often target children. These acts reflect that IOF continue to act without regard to the rules of international law, which prohibit any attacks against civilians but also taking measures to ensure their safety and well-being.

Al Mezan also notes that most of these acts occur near the border fence in the north and east of the Gaza Strip; an area that is declared as a 'buffer zone' by IOF. However, this entire area is located inside the Gaza Strip and it is not precisely defined. IOF informed farmers and residents in certain areas as close to the border as 300 meters that that area was part of the 'buffer zone'. Nevertheless, many attacks on farmers and children occurred in areas over a kilometer from the border fence, and in times when there were no disturbances in these areas.

Al Mezan Centre calls on the international community to take prompt actions to ensure due protection of Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt); particularly children who continue to take the brunt of IOF's attacks and the collective punishment measures. Al Mezan asserts that these continued acts by IOF require urgent actions by international community to enforce the mechanisms of accountability against those who violate international law in oPt. The prevailing culture of impunity has only served to encourage violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and must be challenged and stopped without delay.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Palestinian Youth Killed By Army Fire In Gaza, Three Wounded

Friday November 13, 2009 21:46 by Saed Bannoura - 1 of IMEMC News Editorial Group

Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported on Friday that a Palestinian youth was killed by Israeli army fire, and three others were wounded, when the army invaded an area close to Juhr Al Deek, east of Gaza City.
The sources identified the slain youth as Mohammad Wadi, 17, from Al Boreij refugee camp. His body and his three wounded friends were moved to the Al Aqsa Hospital.

Local sources reported that Israeli soldiers invaded the area and opened fire at children who were hunting birds. Troops later kidnapped four children, including two brothers.

The two brothers were identified as Ahmad Khader Sa’doun, 16, and Mohammad, 15. One of them was also wounded and was moved to an Israeli hospital.

The Israeli Radio claimed that the army invaded the area after a group of Palestinians approached the border fence in Nahal Oz area, and that the Palestinians intended to plant an explosive charge.

The army admitted to killing one and kidnapping three others. There was no mention of ‘locating’ the claimed explosive.

The army prevented Palestinian medics from approaching the area in an attempt to evacuate the casualties.

Local sources reported that there were no resistance fighters in the area, and that the persons who were reportedly close to the border were fishermen.

Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in Gaza
Published yesterday (updated) 13/11/2009 18:31

Gaza – Ma'an – Israeli forces killed a young Palestinian man and injured three others in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday.

Two brothers were hurt, medics said, adding that the Johr Ad-Dik-area shooting left another Palestinian hospitalized.

An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed that one Palestinian was killed during the incident, but would not comment on the hospitalized youth's condition. Three others were being questioned, she said.

There were conflicting reports on what led to the incident, none of which could be independently confirmed.

Palestinian witnesses said the group was on a hunting trip near the border east of Al-Bureij refugee camp when Israeli forces opened fire. Local medics said the fire was directed at the youths.

Israeli media reported that troops entered the Johr Ad-Dik area for a short while, where they located a group of men near the Nahal Oz crossing. They were planting an explosive device, according to these reports.

In what appeared to be a third explanation, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for shooting an Israeli soldier northeast of Johr Ad-Dik.

In a statement received just before 4pm, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades said the attack came in response to the "continuous Israeli crimes against Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem."

The one youth confirmed dead was identified as 22-year-old Mustafa Muhammad Wadi. Following reports that a second youth died en route to Israel's Barzilai Hospital, a hospital spokesman told Ma'an a patient named Ahmad was receiving treatment, but refused to elaborate.

As for the three in custody, sources identified two as Ahmad Khader Sa'doon, 16, and his brother Muhammad, 15. They were both reportedly injured, as well. Officials said the Gaza City emergency and medical services department would coordinate the youth's return to Gaza.

Meanwhile, Israeli media reported that a projectile fired from the Gaza Strip struck an open area in the Sdot Negev region, causing no injuries or damage.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

IOF troops open fire at farmers in northern Gaza

[ 07/11/2009 - 03:47 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) opened heavy machine gun fire at Palestinian farmers while tending to their lands north of the Gaza Strip on Saturday, local sources reported.
A source in the area told Quds Press that the IOF soldiers fired an artillery shell then opened machineguns at the farmers east of Jabaliya in northern Gaza Strip.
Farmers were forced to abandon their lands due to the heavy gunfire that was coupled with intensified flights for IOF warplanes.
A number of Palestinian citizens were wounded on Friday night when the IOF troops fired a projectile at them east of Gaza city.

Life in hell along the Gaza-Israel border

Gaza – Ma’an – Residents of the Gaza Strip’s borders live in a state of fear, particularly those who own agricultural lands near the eastern borders and cannot access them from fear of being shot by Israeli forces present in the area.

Residents further assert that they receive phone calls from Israeli soldiers demanding information on captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, in return for money.

Ahmad Hillis, a resident of the eastern region of Gaza near the border, explained the suffering they endure in the area that residents term a “shooting field,” articulating that “many people possess agricultural lands in the eastern area and cannot reach them because they are frightened of being shot by the Israeli soldiers who engage in weekly inspection and shooting operations, mess up and raze lands.”

As Hillis noted that 18 houses were destroyed in the area during the war, fellow resident Muhammad Salim added that people living in the vicinity return home early fearing that Israeli reconnaissance planes might target them at night.

According to United Nations and numerous Palestinian residents, the Israeli military maintains an exclusion zone of about 300 meters in width along the border. Anyone venturing into the zone risks being shot with live ammunition. Some residents say however that they have seen the military shoot at farmers up to 700 meters from the borderline.

As this report was written, farmers living near the border with Israel east of the city of Jabaliya said that three Israeli shells exploded in a field, causing a state of panic but no injuries.

Additionally, other residents expressed their exasperation at numerous phone calls from callers identifying themselves as members of the armed forces asking them for details on Shalit in exchange for 10 million dollars, they say, and to provide information concerning Palestinian armed forces, maintaining that such propositions are always rejected.

Israeli forces shell northern Gaza

Gaza – Ma’an –Israeli shells landed in an open area in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, causing panic but no injuries, witnesses said.

Residents of the area said three shells landed in the Abu Safieyah area east of the city of Jabaliya. The residents added that the shelling was apparently unprovoked.

One Palestinian living in the area told Ma’an, "The shelling caused fear among the residents who live in these agricultural areas that their houses could be hit by these shells."

An Israeli military spokesperson confirmed that Israeli soldiers fired mortars at what they believed to be the source of rockets fired into Israeli territory. The military said they were still investigating whether rockets were indeed fired across the border.

Two hurt by Israeli shelling in eastern Gaza

Gaza – Ma'an – Israeli shelling injured several Palestinians east of Gaza City on Friday evening, residents said.

Medics reportedly evacuated two people after the attack near Nahal Oz crossing.

"Ambulances are attempting to reach the injured," an onlooker told Ma'an over the phone, adding that others were hurt.

An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma'an that soldiers opened fire after they identified someone operating a weapon in the vicinity of the border crossing.

The army was not aware of any injuries, she added.

The Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported three Palestinians injured.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

PCHR weekly report 29/10-4/11: 1 mentaly disabled wounded and abducted, 1 tractor shot

Saturday, 31 October 2009 

 At approximately 15:00, IOF positioned inside observation towers on the border strip in the northwest of Beit Lahia, northern the Gaza Strip, fired at Ashraf Saleh Salem Jaber, 40, from ‘Izbat ‘Abed Rabbo in the east of Jabalia town. Jaber was wounded by a bullet to his left foot. Accordign to investigations conducted by PCHR, Jaber was wounded while walking on the beach as he approached the border strip in the northweat of the ex-settlement of Doghit in the northwest of Beit Lahia. His family told PCHR that their son suffers from mental disorder and that he had left the house two days before the incident. After IOF fired at Jaber and wounded him, an IOF undercover unit moved into the scene and transferred Jaber inside Israel. After the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Palestinian Liaison Office managed to make coordination with IOF, Jaber was transferred to Gaza via Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing and delivered to a Palestinian ambulance. He was then transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city where he was diagnosed with severe fractures in his left foot. 

Sunday, 1 November 2009

At approximately 12:00, IOF positioned inside observations towers in Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, north of Beit Hanoun in the north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian civilians who were collecting stones from the rubble of the building in the industrial area that had been bulldozed by IOF. IOF also fired a hail of bullets at a tractor belonging to Jaber Younis Mohammed Abu Marshoud, as he was working approximately 150 meters from the border. Abu Marshoud who was driving the tractor escaped from the scene while the tractor was hit by several bullets and has remained in the seen. No casualties were reported in this incident. 


Saturday, October 31, 2009

Harvesting in death zone, with a song

Eva Bartlett | Inter Press Service
30 October 2009
On a quiet October morning, Fida Zaneen, 19, sings a traditional love song as she pulls olives from trees in Beit Hanoun’s border region during the annual olive harvest.
“My grandmother taught me the folk songs. They were popular all over Palestine many decades ago.”
Saber Zaneen, 44, and Khalil Nassir, 45, alternately belt out traditional harvest songs as they, too, strip the limbs of the green and black fruit in the northern Gaza region.
Keeping Palestinian culture alive is one of the mandates of Local Initiative, a Beit Hanoun-based volunteer group comprising many youths and women, and of which Fida Zaneen is a member. At group events, participants often sport traditional robes and Palestinian kuffiyehs, and dance dabke to hand-drums and singing from the group.
Formed in September 2007, Local Initiative has a number of other mandates: promoting volunteerism; reaching out to marginalised families living in the regions along the Green Line border between Israel and Gaza; giving psycho- social support to children scarred by Israeli military attacks and shooting; financially assisting children with martyred parents; and improving the role of women and youth in society.
Saber Zaneen, one of the original seven founders and now the general coordinator, elaborates on the group’s objectives.
“The border areas are very dangerous and difficult areas for families and farmers to live and work in, due to Israeli shooting and shelling at any Palestinians in the area. We are trying to support those people who choose to remain on their land.” Farmers in the north and eastern Beit Hanoun buffer zone region have reason to feel threatened: of the eight Palestinians killed and over 33 injured in the buffer zone since the Jan. 18 ceasefire, three of the killed (all children) and 12 of the injured (including six children) were attacked in the northern and eastern border regions.
The region, dubbed the “buffer zone”, is an Israeli-imposed no-go zone which encompasses approximately 30 percent of Gaza’s most fertile agricultural land, ranging from off-limits land between 300 metres wide to up to two kilometres wide in some areas. According to Israeli authorities, anyone entering that area is subject to being shot by the Israeli army.
It is in the knowledge that farmers struggle not only to access their land but also to bring water to it, that Local Initiative volunteers accompany farmers to do the simplest of things: water their land, check on their bees, re-plant Israeli-bulldozed trees.
“During the war, Israeli soldiers destroyed almost all of the water wells and pumps in this area,” says Zaneen of the razed land east of Beit Hanoun. “We sometimes accompany farmers to bring water to their land. We’d like to see the wells and pumps repaired and farmers working their land without fear of being shot.”
Local Initiative uses direct action against what they see as Israel’s policies of collective punishment of Gaza’s Palestinians. To highlight the issues and increase solidarity among buffer zone inhabitants, the group leads non- violent demonstrations and holds events in the buffer zone region.
Some of the demonstrations have been near the Erez checkpoint, along with other NGOs and local groups, calling for an end to the siege of Gaza, imposed since shortly after Hamas was elected in early 2006, but tightening more and more severely since June 2007 when Hamas took control of Gaza.
Zaneen speaks of the impetus to set up the group. “It was after the Israeli army had on two different days shelled groups of children in Beit Hanoun in 2007. I saw tiny body parts all over the ground. It was the hardest thing I’d seen.”
The first incident Zaneen refers to occurred on Aug. 21 2007 when Abdul Khader Ashoor, 13, and Fadi Kafarna, 11, were targeted by an Israeli missile. Testimony given by a child injured in the shelling to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) notes that the boys were going to pick fruit in an area where a homemade rocket launcher stand stood when they were struck by the missile.
Eight days later, three children from the Abu Ghazala family were likewise killed by an Israeli ground to ground missile. PCHR reports that Mahmoud, 8, Sara, 9, and Yehya, 12, were herding sheep roughly two kilometres from the border fence when hit by the missile and that, while 40m from a homemade rocket launching stand, there were no resistance activists in the area at the time.
In September 2007, after recruiting concerned Beit Hanoun residents, the seven volunteers met for the first time as Local Initiative. Since then, the group has blossomed, now comprising roughly 20 female volunteers and 30 males. The ages range from teenage to parents.
Fida Zaneen studies engineering at university. She is fluent in English and often acts as translator for visiting international delegations and journalists, at the same time joining in the non-violent demonstrations.
Ibrahim Kaloub, 17, one of the younger volunteers, documents their activities. A compilation video shows psycho-social activities with clowns visiting the border region families, demonstrations in the “buffer zone”, celebrating Palestinian Land Day, harvesting olives in 2008, and Israeli tanks and military bulldozer incursions along the border regions.
During the first ten days of October, Local Initiative volunteers assisted in the olive harvest on five border area farms. Mohammed Zaneen lives to the east of Beit Hanoun. Over the years of numerous Israeli invasions, the family has lost their ten dunams (one dunam is 1,000 square metres) of olive trees to Israeli bulldozers, leaving just 18 trees as their source of olives and oil.
Zaneen says that in eight days of harvest work, they harvested over 100 trees in border areas north and east of Beit Hanoun, but that the harvest was a meagre one. He cites natural biennial decreases in olive production as one reason for this year’s poor harvest, but says the most significant factor was the Israeli bulldozing of hundreds of olive trees in the border areas – an estimated 90 percent of the trees – during the Israeli massacre of Gaza last winter.
With the choking siege on Gaza, unemployment couples with soaring prices to render simple existence a daily challenge for the 90 percent of Gaza’s population who live in extreme poverty.
Zaneen knows the region and is acutely aware of the most impoverished families, including children orphaned by one or both parents. In dire cases, he seeks financial aid from local and international supporters.
Khalil Nassir, 45, is another of the original founders. During the Israeli winter massacre of Gaza, Nassir volunteered as a medic in the region.
Mahmoud Billih, 17, is always in the front line of any demonstration. He, too, has been a Local Initiative member since the beginning.
He recalls the day Local Initiative and international activists brought a martyr’s corpse from the buffer zone east of Beit Hanoun. “This was a very important act. His family had no idea if he was alive of not. When his father was able to lay his son to rest, he too could rest.”
Gassem Kafarni, 23, an engineer, and another of the original members remembers: “Saber (Zaneen) said, ‘we need volunteers who are willing to risk their lives while helping families live on their land.’ I was willing.”
Kafarni speaks of the families Local Initiative used to visit, before their homes were destroyed during the last Israeli massacre.
“We used to visit around 13 families who lived in very hard conditions. They all lived close to the border fence and had many problems from the Israeli soldiers. No other groups visited them; they were given the UN dry food aid but otherwise were completely ignored. We’d go, bring the children toys, and play games with them. They were always very happy for our visits. But now their houses are gone.”
Shabaan Garmut, 60, is among the families who had a home next to the border fence. “There was always Israeli soldier shooting,” says Kafarni. “Eventually Garmut told his family to go live elsewhere, for their safety. But he stayed in the house.”
Kafarni says that the Israeli soldiers would prevent Garmut from reaching his water well, thereby preventing him from watering his three dunams of olive and lemon trees.
“We organised solidarity marches to his land, brought many journalists filming live so that the Israeli soldiers would not shoot too closely. We also brought new trees and planted them to replace trees the Israelis had bulldozed.”
With the Israeli massacre of Gaza, Garmut’s house was destroyed and his land razed.
Saber Zaneen says that approximately 80 houses were demolished in the buffer zone area to the north and east of Beit Hannoun – rendering at least 400 residents homeless.
Following the attacks, the Initiative organised short-term emergency medical training courses for farmers and civilians in the border regions, to better enable them to work and live on the land, but prepared for Israeli attacks.
The volunteers also engage in activities for traumatised children. In June 2009, Local Initiative held a ‘let me play freely’ day of kite-flying in the border region, involving also children with special needs and physically challenged children. Amal Nassir, 21, is a social worker and one of the original seven founders. “I’m not afraid to go in the border areas,” she says, despite the reality of Israeli soldiers’ shooting. “The hardest thing for me is to hear the children speak of their experiences and suffering during the last war.”
For Fida Zaneen and Nassir, being female does not limit their participation. “We are equal; we can do any of the work the men are doing, nothing is off- limits,” says Nassir.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shot after photographing the Gaza sea

Electronic Intifada: 28 October 2009

Ashraf Abu Suleiman (Eva Bartlett)
On 4 October, Ashraf Abu Suleiman, a 16-year-old from Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp, went to the northwest coast town of Sudaniya to visit an ill school friend. The teen then went to the sea, where he rolled up the legs of his pants, waded into the water and enjoyed the late summer morning. He took some photos of the sea and of the area around him, intending to play with the photos later on Photoshop, a hobby he and his father share.
Minutes later, Ashraf was running in blind terror as Israeli soldiers in a gunboat off the coast began shooting at Palestinian fishermen. He was hit by an Israeli soldier’s bullet which bore through his neck and grazed his vertebrae, fracturing C-4 and C-5, leaving him bleeding on the ground and unable to stand up.
“They were shooting at Palestinian fishermen in hassakas [small fishing vessels],” he said of the Israeli soldiers in the gunboat. “Some of the bullets were hitting near where I stood. I started to run north. I didn’t think about where to run, I just ran.”
He estimates he ran for a few minutes, soon approaching the northern border before an Israeli soldier’s voice shouted over a megaphone for him to stop. Seeing an Israeli military vehicle in the distance ahead, Ashraf was afraid that the soldiers north of him would start shooting. He kept running, hoping to take cover behind a low hill nearby.
Then he was grounded, one of the bullets hitting him in the neck.
The Ma’an news agency reported, “an Israeli military spokeswoman says soldiers identified a ’suspicious Palestinian man’ approaching the border fence, and fired warning shots in the air. After the Palestinian ignored warning shots, the spokeswoman said, the army fired at and lightly injured him.”
At least eight Palestinians have been killed and at least 33 injured in the Israeli-imposed “buffer zone” along Gaza’s border since the 18 January ceasefire. Three of the killed and 12 of the injured were minors, including many children.
The “buffer zone” was imposed by Israeli authorities about a decade ago, initially at 150 meters and now while Israeli authorities say the no-go zone runs 300 metres from the boundary between Gaza and Israel, it ranges up to two kilometers in some areas. The buffer zone renders off-limits approximately 30 percent of Gaza’s most fertile agricultural land, as well as the land adjacent to it. Israeli authorities warn that anyone entering that area is subject to being shot by the Israeli army.
“I don’t know how close I was, maybe less than 400 meters from the fence,” Ashraf said.
Three Israeli soldiers approached him on foot, Ashraf explained. “An Israeli soldier kicked me in the mouth and told me to stand up. I couldn’t, my legs wouldn’t move.”
According to Ashraf, an Israeli soldier dragged him by his arms over the rough ground. After another kick to the face, he was put on a stretcher and carried across the northern border to a waiting Israeli jeep.
After they checked his identity via computer, Ashraf said that the Israeli soldiers told him: “You’re 16 years and one month old. You’re a student.” Although the soldiers realized that he was harmless, they continued to treat him with contempt.
“They put me in a jeep and we drove for a while, maybe 20 minutes, I don’t know exactly. Then they transferred me to an Apache helicopter and flew me to a military base near Erez. I don’t know the name but I know it wasn’t so far from Erez. There was a small clinic there where they gave me a little first aid,” he said, recalling that this treatment was at least 30 minutes after his injury.
“They put some gauze and bandaging on my neck wound,” Ashraf said. He then was made to wait as a Palestinian medic negotiated his return to a Gaza hospital.
Hassam Ghrenam, a Palestine Red Crescent Society medic and ambulance driver, had approval to cross into Israel for two medical cases unrelated to Ashraf. While on the Israeli side, Ghrenam saw Ashraf and requested to take him back to Gaza.
Ashraf explained that Ghrenam wanted to bring three other men, to transfer him carefully as medical procedure dictates. The Israeli soldiers refused the request and Ashraf had to wait for more than an hour until the soldiers finally relented.
“There were maybe 30 Israeli soldiers around us. The ambulance driver kept saying, ‘he’s critical, very critical, take him to Israel,’ but the soldiers just pointed their guns at him and did nothing,” Ashraf explained.
Ghrenam noted that there was blood and signs that Ashraf was beaten or kicked in the face. According to Ghrenam, “The Israelis only put a bandage on his wound, no neck collar, no proper treatment. I immediately put a neck collar on him. Injuries to the neck and spinal cord can lead to paralysis.”
At the Palestinian side of the Erez crossing, Ghrenam passed Ashraf to a waiting Red Crescent ambulance which immediately transferred the youth to Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital. He is now in the al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital, and doctors and Ashraf’s parents wait to see whether his fractured vertebrae will heal well enough so he can walk again.
Ashraf’s father is not optimistic. “Every day we wait I feel like his life is withering. I’m worried about his future.”

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

PCHR weekly report 1-7/10/2009: 1 child wounded, 1 incursion, 1 missile fired

excerpt from PCHR weekly report  No. 39/2009 01 - 07 Oct. 2009

Friday, 02 October 2009 

At approximately 17:00, an IOF drone fired a missile at a space area in the west of Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip.  No casualties or damage were reported.

Sunday, 04 October 2009 

At approximately 10:00, IOF troops positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northwest of Beit Lahia town fired at Ashraf Bassam Abu Suleiman, 16, from Jabalya refugee camp, wounding him with a bullet to the neck.  They then took him into Israel.  In the evening, they handed him to the Palestinian liaison near Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing.  He was transferred to the intensive care unit at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where medical sources described his wound as serious.  According to the Palestinian liaison, the child told him that he was at the beach when he chased and threw stones at a dog, so IOF troops thought he was throwing stones towards them and fired at him.  

Tuesday, 06 October 2009 

At approximately 16:00, IOF moved nearly 500 meters into al-Shoja'eya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City.  They leveled areas of land, which they had razed during the offensive against the Gaza Strip in January.  No casualties were reported.  


Agricultural Work Committees confront occupation attacks on Gaza farmers

from PFLP website

The Union of Agricultural Work Committees launched a popular campaign of support and solidarity with farmers on the Gaza borders on Thursday, October 8, 2009, with a march and sit-in in Beit Hanoun and on the lands of farmers whose lands have been classified as "buffer zones" by the occupier.

Hundreds of farmers gathered at 10:00 AM at the UAWC office in Beit Hanoun, condemning the occupation for the so-called "buffer zone" and demanding international action to pressure the occupation to abolish this so-called "buffer zone," threatening farmers' much-needed and vital access to their lands.

Saad Eddin Ziadah spoke on behalf of the UAWC, saluting the steadfastness of the farmers and residents of the border areas of Gaza and demanding protection of citizens and farmers and that Israel end its threats and attacks against Palestinian people and land.

He called upon Palestinian, Arab and international institutions to raise the issue of the buffer zone and the suffering that it causes to farmers in Gaza in all Palestinian, Arab and international forums, to put pressure on the occupation and expose its crimes against farmers in Gaza. Finally, he called for national unity and reconciliation to provide support for our people in confronting the occupier and its crimes.

Zaki al-Masri spoke on behalf of the farmers' committees, describing the suffering of farmers in the border areas and the need for solidarity to raise this issue widely, in order to enable them to use and cultivate their land, the primary source of income for the farmers. He said that the farmers will never give up their rights to their land, despite the planes and tanks of the Israeli occupation.

He said that this bitter reality continues because of Arab and international official silence about these crimes, and forces farmers to demand an end to this silence, which provides implicit support to the occupation and its crimes. He demanded that Palestinian farmers' right to live in their land safely and securely must be protected, and called upon all human rights organizations in the world to confront these Zionist occupation crimes against our people.

The campaign plans to march every Thursday to the "buffer zone" to demonstrate solidarity with the people of the border, as part of a project to protect the right to life and the right to farm in Gaza.
Picture 104_1.jpg

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gaza boy shot by Israeli forces

Published Sunday 04/10/2009 (updated) 06/10/2009 09:57

Gaza – Ma’an – A young boy was shot by Israeli forces on his family’s farm near the Israeli border in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, medical officials said.

According to Muawiya Hassanein, the director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf Abu Suleiman was shot in the spine.

Hassanein also said Israeli forces denied ambulances access to the area to take the child to hospital. Instead, the forces detained him for two hours, he said. The boy was transferred to a hospital after this detention, the official said.

Asked about the incident, an Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma’an that during an army operation, soldiers identified a “suspicious Palestinian man” approaching the border fence, and fired warning shots in the air. After the Palestinian ignored warning shots, the spokeswoman said, the army fired at and lightly injured him.

According to the Israeli military, Abu Suleiman was transferred to the Israeli side of the border for initial medical treatment and then returned to Gaza.

The Israeli army maintains an “exclusion zone” of up to several hundred meters wide inside Palestinian territory along the border. Palestinians who venture into the area are routinely shot.

Early on Sunday morning, Israeli warplanes launched three airstrikes on smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip, the fourth such attack in as many days.

IOA troops arrest Palestinian boy after shooting him, settlers steal olives
[ 05/10/2009 - 04:41 PM ]

BEIT LAHIA, (PIC)-- The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired at a Palestinian boy to the west of Beit Lahia city, north of the Gaza Strip, and took him away after wounding him, locals reported.
A group of fishermen at sea watched an IOF special unit while targeting the child before detaining him.
Muawiya Hassanein, the director of ambulance and emergency in the Palestinian health ministry, said that the IOF soldiers took away the 14-year-old boy for treatment in an Israeli medical center.
He expected the child to be in a critical condition or to die of his wounds.
Meanwhile, Jewish settlers on Sunday assaulted a farmer in Jinsafout village, Qalqilia district, and stole the olives that he harvested, claiming that the land was theirs!

scenes from another Beit Hanoun olive harvest

In Gaza

*figs, not quite ripe
*olive bucket
*Local Inititative volunteer
*Local Inititative volunteer
*shade hut built from Israeli-bulldozed Palestinian trees
*The lovely wood is from an Israeli-bulldozed Jumeiza tree. Although these trees may exist elsewhere, I’ve only ever seen them in Palestine
*although over 1km from the Green Line border between Gaza and Israel, the farmers on this land were worried enough about being shot at that they requested accompaniment
*the makings of a fire for tea

beit hanoun olive harvest

In Gaza

A day of olive picking in Gaza’s north. A day of traditional Palestinian songs, and teasing, olive stains, and stories of lost olive trees and bulldozed homes. We, a number of Palestinian and international volunteers [ISM and other], are participating is because of the danger of Israeli soldiers opening fire on the harvesters –the trees are roughly 1 km from the northern border wall, and while Israeli officials say their Israeli-imposed “buffer zone” extends only 300m, experience has shown that farmers and civilians near that arbitrary line are subject to lethal shooting.

The Palestinian contingent is the lively “Local Initiative” group from Beit Hanoun. On most accompaniments, I’ve seen a couple of men in their 30s and 40s, likewise women, and the rest are high school or university age males and females.
One of the coordinators, Khalil, is slightly crazy, as are all good, inspiring folks. While waiting for the group to congregate, we sit roadside beneath the shade of orange trees. He’s pilfered some oranges, but the trees’ owner is sitting across the street and brings his chair over to join us.
Khalil is a bit of everything. During the winter Israeli massacre, he was a volunteer medic in Beit Hanoun. Post-massacre, he’s resumed his full-time volunteering with the Initiative. During Palestinian Land Day celebrations, he was vocal and active, leading chants, songs and Dabke. Likewise during a demonstration in the east Beit Hanoun border region, protesting the Israeli army’s continued shooting at and of civilians (minus the Dabke that day, but he led prayers instead).
And, it turns out, he teaches sign language. So waiting under the orange trees, we learned Palestine (a shoulder brushing movement which seems to have originated from the way Yasser Arafat drooped his kuffiyeh over his shoulder); Bahrain (a wavy movement mimicking waves; Bahar is ‘sea’ in Arabic, tho the Bahrain and similarity to ‘bahar’ could be coincidental); Nablus is the action of washing hands (famous for its olive oil soap); and he goes on teaching, but I’m a slow student.
At the land, we meet the owner, an elderly Palestinian who has lost most of his ancient olive trees to Israeli bulldozers and attacks. There are a meagre 10 or so which we harvest today.
Saber Zaneen, the main coordinator of the Local Initiative, and as crazy and intelligent as Khalil, leads the songs. He knows many a traditional song, pulls them out of his kuffiyeh for the right occasion. Today he’s had to refresh his memory, has the lyrics of a folk song on olive harvesting printed out to help his memory.

The land owner interrupts us for more coffee and a variety of sticky, nutty Palestinian sweets.
I’m led away to scour the bean crops, given a handful of fresh, sweet beans, and break a bit to photograph harvesters at work and play.
Abu Alaa Suheilam, having served coffee from a graceful old urn, sits down next to me to speak of his losses.
“We had five houses over there, near the border fence,” he points to at least one visible pile of rubble about 1 km away from us.
I note that today is relatively calm, certainly compared to other accompaniments. But we are further away and great in number.
“I came here after the war to see our land,” Abu Alaa continues. “They began shooting right away,” he says of the Israeli soldiers.
“My father died during the war. We had left our home and were staying with our relatives. When my father heard our houses were destroyed, he had a heart attack from the loss.”
The 30 dunams (1 dunam=1000 square metres) that make up their land have been off-limits for the last 7 years, he says. His story mirrors that of farmers and civilians in and near the Israeli-imposed “buffer zone” [in theory 300m but in practise up to 2 km in areas] who speak of being forced off their land at gunpoint and of losing ancient olive and fruit trees to the Israeli military bulldozers in their repeated invasions.
Further down the row of trees, Fida is singing softly as she picks, her voice a tender lilt. “It’s a song my grandmother taught me. A traditional Palestinian song,” she says. “We have songs for almost every subject,” she continues, going on to explain the love song she’s rendering. In university, vivacious, intelligent, adept at English, and charming, Fida is one of the many female volunteers in the group.
It is pleasant work, and despite the expectation of shooting from the Israeli soldiers border-side, we work comfortably. I recall 2007 harvests, under attack by slingshot wielding Israeli settlers one time, forced off the land by Israeli soldiers acquiescing to the mass of settlers that had streamed down a hill (some with clubs and guns in hand).
And although I know the answer, I always wonder: why does the simplest act have to be so damn hard?
We pack up and pack into a minibus, sitting on top of one another. Saber and Khalil lead the songs again, some light teasing of myself and other volunteers, but all in good fun.