Monday, September 28, 2009

IOF shelling wounds twins in central Gaza

[ 28/09/2009 - 10:20 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- A Palestinian teen and his twin sister were wounded on Monday when an Israeli army shell slammed into a field where they were working east of Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza Strip.
Medical sources said that Abdullah Al-Masdar, 17, was slightly injured in the blast of the shell while his twin sister was moderately wounded.
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Sunday evening pounded agricultural areas and sewerage basins in northern Gaza but no casualties were reported.
Locals reported that IOF soldiers opened heavy machinegun fire at residential areas east of Beit Hanun, in northern Gaza, on Sunday night inflicting material damage.
The national resistance brigades, the armed wing of the democratic front for the liberation of Palestine, announced that its fighters targeted an IOF base north of the Strip on Sunday in retaliation to the IOF escalation against the Strip over the past few days and in reprisal to the violation of the Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.

Medics: Teens hurt by shelling in central Gaza
Published yesterday (updated) 28/09/2009 17:07

Gaza – Ma'an – Two Palestinians were reportedly injured when an Israeli artillery shell landed at a farm in the Al-Musddar neighborhood near Al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Monday morning.

A Palestinian medical source at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital told Ma'an that 17-year-old Abdullah Al-Musaddar sustained light wound, and that his twin sister Abeer sustained moderate injuries.

Separately, the National Resistance Committees, the armed wing of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, claimed responsibility for firing shells at an Israeli military jeep east of Al-Maghazi camp.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Witnesses: Israeli forces shelled Gaza overnight

Published today (updated) 27/09/2009 19:50

Gaza – Ma'an – Israel's military bombarded several areas in Gaza overnight, and a number of military vehicles crossed the border near Beit Lahiya in the north, witnesses said on Sunday.

Artillery shelling reportedly targeted the northern Gaza town of Jabaliya, while tanks and special forces were said to have entered the evacuated Israeli settlement of Dogit, northwest of Beit Lahiya. Machine gun fire was reported, and fighter jets were heard flying overhead.

Israel's military confirmed firing two mortar shells toward what they said was the launching post for mortars fired the same night. According to Israeli sources, Palestinians launched a mortar shell toward southern Israel that landed in an open area in the Eshkol Regional Council. There were no reports of injury or damage.

Separately, in the Al-Waha area of the northern Gaza Strip, fishermen said they came under fire from Israeli warships. However no injuries were reported. At Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip, Israeli artillery bombarded open areas east of the city, according to residents. No casualties were reported there, either.

A homemade projectile was launched toward the Eshkol Regional Council on Friday night, according to Israeli sources, causing no injuries or damage. The same night, three Palestinians were killed and another injured in an Israeli airstrike on northeastern Gaza. Islamic Jihad confirmed that three of its members died in the strike, but denied they were prepping to fire anything toward Israel.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Death in the Samouni compound

By Amira Hass


The Samouni family of Gaza has, to its great misfortune, become one of the best-known families in the world, one that is identified more than any other with the January 2009 onslaught on Gaza. Twenty-nine members of the family were killed on January 4 and 5, the first two days of the ground assault. Two of them, about which this reporter wrote two weeks ago - Atiyeh and his 4-year-old son Ahmed - were killed in their home; 21 were killed in a single building at the same time, and another six were killed separately, in different circumstances.

From eyewitness accounts submitted to human rights researchers and journalists, some in real time and others immediately after the forces left Gaza, suspicions arose that the IDF killed people in or near their homes even after it became fully aware that they were civilians; prevented the rescue of the wounded and the arrival of ambulances for several days; used civilians as human shields in a building seized for military purposes; and fired at a convoy of people escaping (and forbade evacuation of a wounded and handcuffed person, who bled to death).

According to the IDF Spokesman's Office, operational echelons within the IDF have been examining "for several months" allegations regarding the killing of the 29 members of the Samouni family. "It should be stressed that the event is divided into a long series of specific claims that relate to different times and places," the IDF spokesman stated. "When the examination is completed, the findings will be presented to the Military Advocate General, who will decide on the need to take additional steps."

An anonymous military source told Haaretz that "whereas the early reports lacked many substantive details essential for a serious clarification of the allegations ... subsequent petitions that were received were much more detailed."

The Samouni compound covers a predominantly agricultural area of 69 dunams (17 acres) in the Zeitoun neighborhood of southeastern Gaza City. About 34 of the buildings and huts there (most of which belong to the extended Samouni family, some to other families) were scattered between hothouses, orchards, chicken coops and a few workshops. Upon its departure, the IDF destroyed 24 buildings in the neighborhood, uprooted orchards and destroyed chicken coops and hothouses.

The IDF had deployed on foot in the compound early in the morning on Sunday, January 4, after firing for several hours at the neighborhood's buildings from all directions. Residents living on Salah a-Din Road testified that they noticed soldiers that night lowering themselves out of a helicopter onto the roof of a neighborhood building. Tanks did not enter the Samouni compound.

The following is part of a reconstruction of events that Haaretz has passed on to the IDF Spokesman's Office for its response. It is based on eyewitness accounts taken by Haaretz from survivors and on findings of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and of B'Tselem.

1. January 4, 2009, 5:30 A.M.: Nidal Samouni, 33, tries to offer aid and to rescue two injured persons in the field near his home on the eastern edge of the neighborhood. He is shot and killed. (Apparently the two were Palestinian fighters.)

2. As a result of the gunfire, a fire breaks out on the upper story of the tallest building in the neighborhood - the home of Talal Samouni (51) and his children and grandchildren. The fire is extinguished. Relatives who live in asbestos buildings nearby flee to Talal's home.

3. 6 A.M.: Soldiers break into the home of Talal's brother Atiyeh, 46. (This reporter wrote two weeks ago how he was killed with his young son.)

4. January 4, 6:30 A.M.: An IDF force takes control of the home of the Asa'ad Samouni family (a few hundred meters east of Atiyeh's house) and turns it into an army position (one of six in the neighborhood). A few dozen civilians remain in the house.

5. The family of the slain Atiyeh Samouni flees to a nearby house.

6. January 4, 8 A.M.: Salah Samouni departs the home of his father Talal and brings his infant son to the home of Wael Samouni, which seems safer because it is not being fired upon. As he leaves, he discerns three soldiers about 40 meters from Wael's house. They are wearing broad-brimmed hats with nets on them. At first, he thinks they are Palestinian fighters, as he did not expect to see Israeli soldiers walking in the neighborhood. He concludes that they feel safe because there are no armed Palestinians nearby.

7. The soldiers inspect him (pull up his shirt, pull down his pants). He speaks with an officer and tells him the shooting frightens the children. When one of the soldiers starts to act rudely, the officer hushes him. The officer assures Salah that there will be no gunfire. For an hour and a half, there is no gunfire at the house. Everyone is pleased that it is possible to speak with the soldiers and that they listen to civilians.

8. Approximately 10 A.M.: Soldiers lead the neighboring Rashad Samouni family to Talal's house.

9. Walid, 17, the son of Rashad, descends to the ground floor, where the animal feed is kept. Upon seeing the soldiers, he panics and begins to flee. He is shot and killed.

10. 11 A.M. to noon: Soldiers demand that all the people gathered in Talal Samouni's home evacuate it. The building becomes an outpost and firing position. The family is transferred a few dozen meters east, to the home of Wael Samouni - a one-story concrete building with one large room, still under construction. All told, there are 97 people.

11. January 4, 5:30 P.M.: At Wael's house, some women want to bake bread; there is flour but not enough food for everyone and the children are crying from hunger. Several men leave the house, going two meters to collect wood and start a bonfire outside. Soldiers positioned in the high surrounding buildings look on as a young girl, Rizqa Samouni, 14, bakes pita.

12. January 5, approximately 6 A.M.: The children wake up crying, hungry and thirsty. All the water tanks have been punctured by bullets, nothing is left. A woman and child go to a nearby well and filled two jerricans with water as the soldiers watch.

13. January 5, 6:30 A.M.: The women and four or five of the men again leave the building to prepare a fire and bake pita. These persons shout in the direction of the home of Jalal - 100 meters away - where members of the family have been staying. Salah Samouni wanted them to join his group, as he feels that Wael's house is safe because it was the soldiers who transferred them there.

14. Simultaneously, about four or five men begin collecting wood. They want to break apart a plywood board to burn. Everything is in plain view of the soldiers. All of a sudden something is fired at them - Salah Samouni guesses it's a mortar shell or a missile from a helicopter or drone - and it kills Mohammed Ibrahim and wounds Salah (in his head), as well as Wael and Iyad.

15. The wounded men immediately reenter the building; the women begin dressing their wounds. A short time later, another shell or missile lands on the room - with its 96 inhabitants - and explodes. Twenty are killed, about 30 are injured.

16. Amid the confusion, smoke and dust, those who are able leave the building, after trying to determine who is alive.

17. A convoy of several dozen people leave Wael's house, moving east toward Salah a-Din Road. They see a soldier in a position the IDF established in the Sawafiri home. The injured Salah shouts for an ambulance. He claims the soldier yells back in literary Arabic: "Go back to death."

18. They nevertheless continue toward Salah a-Din Road; a helicopter hovers above them. The soldiers shout "Go back, go back," and fire above their heads, but not at them.

Shifa Ali Samouni, a 71-year-old widow who uses a walker, wandered from the home of one of her sons to Talal's and then Wael's house. "In the morning (on Monday)," she recalls, "I went to the bathroom and suddenly felt something falling, which pressed on my ear, and I am falling together with the house. When I came to, I realized blood was dripping from my hand and blood was flowing from my leg. I couldn't see anything, my eye didn't see a thing. After I saw my blood, I saw my son Talal, may God have mercy on him, on the chair. I called him and he did not say anything. Three of my sons were gone (Talal, Atiyeh and Rashad), and my sons' wives, and our grandchildren. And we saw all of them dying, I couldn't see who was who, my children, my grandchildren, I could not tell one from the other. My head is battered, my ears sealed."

The following are the names of the members of the Samouni family who were killed within minutes by an IDF shelling of the house in which soldiers had gathered them the previous day: Rizqa Mohammed, 55; Talal Hilmi, 51; Rahma Mohammed, 46; Layla Nabiyeh, 41; Rashad Hilmi, 41; Rabab Azzat, 37: Hannan Khamis, 35; Mohammad Ibrahim, 25; Hamdi Maher, 23; Safaa Subhi, 22; Tawfiq Rashad, 21; Maha Mohammed, 20; Huda Nael, 16; Isma'il Ibrahim, 15; Rizqa Wael, 14; Is'haq Ibrahim, 13; Fares Wael, 12; Nasser Ibrahim, 5; A'zza Salah, 2; Mu'atassem Mohammed, 1; Mohammad Hilmi, six months.

Among the dead: a mother and her four sons (her husband and daughter survived); two parents and their two sons (their daughter is alive) and another couple and their two daughters.

The soldiers left behind graffiti in the home of Rashad Samouni, which Haaretz saw and photographed: "1 down, 999,999 to go," "The People of Israel lives," "God is the king, there is nothing besides him," "Almighty God, we love you," "We have no one to rely on but our father in heaven," "Arabs need to die," "Less than 300 days left 'til I'm released," "We haven't drank our fill of blood."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Israeli military invades Gaza City and open fire at residents

Thursday September 24, 2009 14:45 by Ghassan Bannoura - IMEMC News & Agencies

Israeli tanks invaded on Thursday Al Shojayia neighborhood east of Gaza City and opened fire at residents homes and a nearby hospital.
Israeli tanks at Gaza borders - file 2008
Israeli tanks at Gaza borders - file 2008
Witnesses said that Israeli Special Forces backed by tanks stormed the area then tanks fired heavily at resident homes an Al WAFA hospital. Damage was reported but no injures.
Meanwhile Palestinian armed factions announced that they fired on Thursday two home made shells at Israeli areas near the Gaza borders. Israeli sources reported the shells landed in open areas causing damage but no injuries.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Israeli military invades northern Gaza, uproot farmlands

Wednesday September 23, 2009 15:58 by Ghassan Bannoura - IMEMC News & Agencies

Israeli tanks invaded on Wednesday farmlands in northern Gaza Strip town of Khuza'a and uprooted them.
An Israeli tank in Gaza - file 2009
An Israeli tank in Gaza - file 2009
Farmers said that tanks invaded their farm lands without any reason and opened fire at them to force them to leave.
The farmers added that tanks uprooted trees and decoyed crops which are only source of their income.
Before leaving the area, the tanks opened fire at nearby homes, causing damage but no injuries, the farmers added.

Israeli massacre and siege overshadow all:Eid day 2

In Gaza

“I had a chicken farm with 3,000 chickens. On the 300 dunams [1 dunam is 1000 square metres] of land I share with neighbours I had 300 olive trees, 130 dates, 200 lemons, 150 papayas, 500 guavas, 200 clementines. I had 50 dunams of wheat and another 50 of peas.

This was all destroyed, all but about 400 chickens. Destroyed before Israel even waged it’s 23 day massacre of Gaza in winter 2008/2009. The last of the chickens died in that attack.

My radish crops, which I’d planted where trees once stood, I had to plow under because they were poisoned by the phosphorous which rained down here.”
Down in Al Faraheen, the farming village east of Khan Younis, a visiting delegation wants to see life in the ‘buffer zone‘. We visit Jaber Abu Rjila whose daily life is a microcosm of many of the problems in Gaza:
-his land has been razed repeatedly by invading Israeli bulldozers;
-his house has been shot up by the Israeli soldiers powering the military dozers; his wife and children have been terrorized, trapped in their home while the invaders shot up and destroyed their livelihoods –one of his younger daughters is psychologically scarred from the experience, won’t eat, is consequently malnourished and nervous;
-their agricultural practices have been devastated by the Israeli massacre in winter 2008/2009, by prior Israeli invasions, by the all-encompassing Israeli-led but internationally-complicit siege on Gaza;
-their farmland, aside from being rendered off-limits by the Israeli-imposed ‘buffer zone’, has been poisoned by the chemical munitions rained upon them during the winter Israeli massacre;
-he has lost relatives and friends to the bullets of Israeli soldiers invading his community…
Their list is a long one, and Jaber is vocal.
We re-visit the May 1st, 2008 Israeli invasion which was the most catastrophic to their livelihood: in a day, their chicken farm, orchards of mature olive and fruit trees, and farm equipment were all destroyed by the Israeli bulldozers, tanks, and soldiers who overtook the region.
We re-visit the winter massacre, during which Faraheen residents evacuated their homes and returned to destruction. Jaber still has what he says is a white phosphorous shell. And has, with his dry sense of humour, fashioned a wind-chime out of spent Israeli ammunition casings.
We ask: how do you know the Israeli army fired chemicals on your land. He cites the crops he’s had to plow under for their poor growth; he points out a date tree that isn’t producing like it should [there are a few bunches of dates where there should be tens, he says].
As we leave, trying to keep to the delegation’s schedule, Jaber and Leila are non-surprisingly insistent we stay: for a meal, for the night… it is only 11 am.
In Khoza’a, another farming village a little further south along the border, we meet Iman An Najjar, one of the hundreds of residents subject to Israeli military terror during the massacre. Khoza’a became internationally known for the multiple atrocities which occurred by the invading Israeli soldiers: civilians were bombed in their homes, were shot while holding white flags, had to flee the Israeli bulldozers leveling home after home, and were subject to clouds of white phosphorous which burned to the bone, killing and scarring for life. The most intense period lasted from early morning to evening 13 January, after which a reported 14 Khoza’a residents were slain, 50 injured, and over 200 suffered gas inhalation. [see: Chaos in Khoza'a ]
*Iman an Najjar relates the horrors of the 13 January massacre.
*boys from Khoza’a.
In Gaza, many feel that Eid, a time of joy for Muslims, is only really for children, as they can be temporarily distracted and made happy by the toys and holiday joy. But for many children, balloons and new clothes won’t even dent the psychological damage and trauma of their experience during the Israeli massacre.
Back in Gaza City in the early evening, the streets are now packed with shebab –the young men of Palestine. They tour arm in arm or in small groups, friends united, roaming and looking for something to do. They are joined by families, likewise streaming down the main street in Rimal area, many heading for the one park in the area, to sit, drink tea, and watch for friends. People are dressed in their best, many in new clothes, and walk proudly.
But that’s it, that’s all there is for them. Nothing special to enjoy, no means of celebrating with family or friends in the occupied West Bank, no means of holiday travel like people elsewhere in the world.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Popular resistance lives on in Gaza

Eva Bartlett | In Gaza
19 September 2009
Palestinian farmers protest the siege in Gaza
Palestinian farmers protest the siege in Gaza
On 15 September, we join farmers and residents, including a contingent of women, youths and men, in a non-violent walk to the border region east of Beit Hanoun in the north of Gaza, singing and chanting as they march past Israeli army razed fields and destroyed water tanks and cisterns. The march is in the tradition of popular resistance in Palestine, more widely known worldwide in the villages of Bil’in and Ni’lin, but equally practised all over occupied Palestine, including Gaza, in the simplest of acts: farming and accessing land which the Israeli authorities’ policies continue to attempt to render barren and void of Palestinian life.
[In the two well-known occupied West Bank regions, Bil'in and Ni'lin, the Israeli occupation army has ramped things up to such a violent suppression of non-violent voices that the April 17th killing of Bil'in villager, Basem Abu Rahme (29, strong, gentle, slain by an Israeli-soldier-shot, high-velocity tear gas canister to the chest from a close distance) , was the 18th murder of non-violent protesters against the separation Wall (11 of these murdered were under 18 years; 7 were 15 years old or under).]
The Beit Hanoun protesters’ message: for Israeli soldiers to stop targeting farmers, for Israeli authorities to end the (intentional) practice of driving Palestinian farmers off of their land. They call also for access to water, highlighting that in that region all but a single water source have been destroyed. This tank serves 40 dunams (1 dunam is 1,000 square metres) of farmland.
What has led these citizens to take up flags and placards? An on-going series of Israeli army targeted-shootings, tank and bulldozer invasions, destruction of farmland, and kidnapping of Palestinian civilians, rendering even the simple act of tending trees on farmland impossible or highly dangerous, risking injury or death from Israeli gunfire.
An exaggeration?
Since the end of Israel’s 23 day winter massacre of Gaza, another eight Palestinian civilians have been killed in the Strip’s border regions, including four minors (3 boys and 1 girl) and one mentally disabled adult. Another 28 Palestinians, including eight minors (7 boys, 1 girl) and 2 women, have been injured by Israeli shooting and shelling, including by the use of ‘flechette’ dart-bombs on civilian areas.
It’s an apt name and a struggle that goes back months, years, but gets almost no recognition in the international corporate media. Neither civilian deaths while farming, nor the steady non-violent resistance to Israeli land annexation seem to be sensational enough.
But while these Beit Hanoun civilians are unarmed, they are not naïve, not passive.
“Buhrrrah, wa dam, nafdiq ya Falasteen: Our soul and blood, we sacrifice for you Palestine,” they chant.
They tell us their first choice is to live and farm peacefully in their region near the border to Israel. But if it comes to it, they will die on their land, for their land, for their families, while farming.
They have little-to-no choice.
With Gaza’s borders firmly sealed shut under the internationally-complicit, Israeli-led and Egyptian-backed siege on Gaza, there is no option for emigration, no option for work in Israel or Egypt, no option to start up new businesses importing goods…
When considering these civilians and farmers, it is imperative to recognize that 95% of Gaza’s industry has been shut down by Israeli attacks and the siege. That roughly one third of Gaza’s farmland has been swallowed by a no-go, Israeli-imposed ‘buffer zone’ in which Israeli soldiers reserve the right to shoot-to-kill.
Roughly a decade ago, Israeli authorities unilaterally established an off-limits ‘buffer zone’ on the 150 metres of land extending along the Green Line border between Gaza and Israel. Since inception, the ‘buffer zone’ has swollen to over 1 km in the east and 2 km in the north (during and immediately after Israel’s 23 day massacre of Gaza in winter 2008/2009), to the present 300 metre off-limits area (heralded in May 2009 by the dropping of leaflets which stated:
“The Israeli Defence Forces repeat their alert forbidding the coming close to the border fence at a distance less than 300 metres. Who gets close will subject himself to danger whererby the IDF will take necessary procedures to drive him away which will include shooting when necessary.”
The ‘buffer zone’ swallows prime, fertile agricultural land, cutting off another means of self-sustenance in a Strip that has been under siege since after Hamas’ election in 2006.
International bodies, including the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the World Food Program (WFP), and the World Health Organization (WHO) note that between 35% to 60% of Gaza’s agricultural industry has been destroyed and rendered useless [from the winter Israeli massacre of Gaza and from various Israeli invasions, attacks, burning of crops, and the impact of the siege].
Whereas formerly Gaza production met half the Strip’s agricultural needs, the effects of attacks and siege on Gaza has devolved the agricultural sector to what the Gaza-based Agricultural Development Association of Gaza aptly cited as a “destruction of all means of life.”
We pass farmers on a donkey cart loaded with plastic jugs filled with water. They ask how they are supposed to water, let alone reach, the paltry few trees on their land near the ‘buffer zone’.
We continue walking, getting a close look at the heaps of rubble which were water tanks and wells. The march reaches a larger well, it’s covering now at a wounded 45 degree slant, the sweet water within off-limits to farmers and their trees.
While speeches are made, pledging to continue to farm, continue to non-violently resist this flagrant Israeli bullying and land-grab policy, some of the weathered farmers in the area approach, keen to share their miseries to those who would listen.
Salem As Saed is 59, has 4.5 dunams of land which once held orange and olive trees until occupational bulldozers ground them to the earth. He has 17 children who he is unable to support; they are all dependent on food-aid handouts.
Awad, (55) has 17 in family and no means of income. His land has been razed, water sources destroyed. Of the 93 dunams of trees he once had, the vast majority have been destroyed. Awad has planted new trees, but these are scant in number and failing from want of water.
He has a further 30 dunams closer to the border, which he cannot access, has not accessed in years. Two years ago, Awad was shot by Israeli soldiers in the area of the Israeli watch tower at the border. He says that he was working with his son some 500 metres from the fence when the Israeli soldiers began shooting without warning. He was hit by a bullet to his inner thigh; his son was abducted and imprisoned for 28 days.
The speeches end and demonstrators kneel, beginning to pray on their land.
The demonstration ends without incident, though the daily dangers remain once the cameras are gone.
As we walk back towards Beit Hanoun, we discuss some those recently assassinated and injured in the buffer zones at the hands of Israeli soldiers.
On the morning of 9 September, and also in the Beit Hanoun border region, Maysara al Kafarna, a 24 year old from Beit Hanoun, was shot in the foot by Israeli soldiers at the Green Line border between Gaza and Israel. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) notes that the youth was 350 metres from the border fence when targeted.
PCHR reports that a few hours later, at 10 am, Israeli soldiers invaded as deeply as 700 metres into areas north of Beit Hanoun, firing at homes and farmland.
Five days prior, Israeli soldiers shot dead a 14 year old boy, targeting him with a bullet to the head. PCHR reports that in the afternoon of 4 September Ghazi Al Zaneen and family were walking in the northeastern Beit Hanoun region to agricultural land they owned 500 metres from the border when –with no warning messages or warning shots –Israeli soldiers opened sustained fire at the family, the last bullets hitting the boy and the family car as the father evacuated his son. Critically injured, Ghazi died the following day.
On 2 September, according to PCHR, when Israeli occupation forces invaded 150 metres into northern Beit Hanoun, Palestinian resistance confronted the invasion, defending themselves against the occupiers’ invasion. In the firing that ensued, a 17 year old, ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al-Masri, living in the region was shot in the foot. Not farming, the youth was subject to danger due to the Israeli invasion.
A week prior to that, on 23 August, PCHR reports Israeli soldiers opened fire on areas to the east of Beit Hanoun, shooting 63 year old Fawzi Ali Wassem in the thigh. The farmer was on agricultural land 1,800 metres from the border.
The morbid list of ‘buffer zone’ fatalities and injuries continues in Beit Hanoun regions (and throughout the Gaza Strip):
-Saleh Mohammed al-Zummara, 66, injured by a gunshot to the left hand and ‘Ali Mohammed al-Zummara, 65, injured by shrapnel in the back from Israeli soldiers’ firing on 3 June, according to PCHR.
- Ziad Salem abu Hadayid, 23, is shot in the legs when Israeli soldiers shoot on Palestinian farmers on 20 May, according to the Al Mezan centre for Human Rights.
-We find Ahmed Abu Hashish’s decomposed body, missing since 21 April, is found shot dead, presumably by Israeli soldiers, in the eastern Beit Hanoun border region on 14 June. As we and Local Initiative volunteers search for then remove the body, we come under close and intense fire from the Israeli soldiers at the border. We are clearly, visibly unarmed; the shooting intesifies when the soldiers see that we have located the body. It is pure spite.
And this is without mentioning the equally brutal assaults on other regions along the ‘buffer zone’. Nor Israeli soldiers’ intentional arson of Palestinian crops. Nor mentioning the abductions of civilians –the latest, 5 minors from Beit Lahiya’s bedouin village region. Abducted on 6 September as they herded their sheep and goats, they are:
1. Mohammed ‘Arafat Abu Khousa, 17;
2. Sameh ‘Abdul Qader Abu Hashish, 15;
3. Fraih Qassem Abu Hashish, 12;
4. ‘Aa’ed Hazzaa’ Abu Hashish, 16; and
5. Ibrahim Shihda Abu Jarad, 17.
Look carefully at the faces in the above photos: these are the civilians facing the world’s fourth most powerful military. These are the people eeking a living or living in a region which has been arbitrarily cut off and assaulted by the state which purports to ‘defend itself’. Look carefully, and hope that they are not among the next to be martyred by Israeli assaults.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

PCHR weekly report 10-16/9/2009: 3 Palestinians arrested one detained inside Gaza Strip

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted 3 limited incursions into Palestinian communities, during which they leveled areas of Palestinian land they had already razed.  They also arrested 3 Palestinians

Thursday, 10 September 2009 

At approximately 01:00, IOF moved nearly 300 meters into the east of al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.  They leveled areas of land and opened fire indiscriminately.  They withdrew from the area a few hours later and no casualties were reported.  

Friday, 11 September 2009 

In the evening, an IOF infantry unit moved nearly 500 meters into the east of al-Boreij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.  At approximately 18:00, they arrested Nahidh Mohammed al-Tawail, 22.  They forced him to walk towards the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.  They detained him until noon on the following day.   

Monday, 14 September 2009 

At approximately 00:15, an IOF infantry unit moved nearly 800 meters into the east of al-Boreij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.  Israeli soldiers searched agricultural lands in the area and arrested 3 Palestinians who have not been identified. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

East Khouzaa destruction & buffer zone

ISM Gaza Strip video

Interview with Dr. Qudeh from the "Brillant Tomorrow For Homes Sons Society" about the destruction of East Khouzaa during the December 2008 - January 2009 Israeli onslaught on Gaza and the attempt of the Israeli occupation forces to establish a "buffer zone" by shooting live ammunition against farmers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gaza: Khan Younis building comes under Israeli fire

Published yesterday (updated) 16/09/2009 23:11
Bethlehem/Gaza - Ma'an - Israeli forces targeted a building in eastern Khan Younis, launching at least one shell, but caused no damage or injuries.

The attack came after Israeli media sources reported Gazan fighters launched a projectile toward Israeli targets. The report said the projectile landed on the Gazan side of the border fence.

List of Palestinian farmers & other civilians shot in Gaza Strip’s rural communities since the declaration of the ceasefire on the 18th of January 2009

UPDATE 15/9/2009
Several farmers and other Palestinian civilians have been shot by Israeli forces while in rural communities since the 18th of January 2009 when Israel declared a unilateral “ceasefire”. This list includes only confirmed cases of Palestinian civilians killed or injured by gunfire or (shrapnel of) artillery shells. It doesn’t include Palestinian civilians killed or injured by air strikes, previously unexploded Israeli ordinances, or injured while trying to escape from Israeli gunfire. It doesn’t include cases of casualties reported but not confirmed with their names [ 1, 2]
According to this list, 7 Palestinian civilians (among them 3 boys and 1 girl) have been assassinated and 28 others (among them 7 boys, 1 girl, 2 women) have been injured by IOF gunfire or shelling.
In this list we should probably add the case of Ahmed Abu Hashish who went missing on the 21st of April and his dead body was found on the  14th of June by a group  formed by locals (including his father and activists of the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative) and ISM Gaza Strip activists that went under Israeli gunfire too. Ahmed Abu Hashish is believed to have been assassinated by IOF troops.
  1. 15 September 2009, Khan Younis: Fadi Odeh Abu Mu’ammar, 28
  2. 15 September 2009, Khan Younis: Muhammad Odeh Abu Mu’ammar, 26
  3. 9 September 2009, Beit Hanoun: Maysara Mohammed Hussein al-Kafarna, 24, wounded by a gunshot to the right foot.
  4. 4 September 2009, Beit Hanoun: Ghazi al-Za’anin, 14,was wounded by a bullet to the head and died the following morning.
  5. 2 September 2009, Beit Hanoun: 17-year-old 'Abdul 'Aziz al-Masri, was wounded by a gunshot to the right foot.
  6. 24 August 2009, Beit Lahia: Mas’oud Mohammed Tanboura, 19, was seriously wounded by several bullets to the chest
  7. 24 August 2009, Beit Lahia: Sa’id ‘Ata al-Hussumi, 16, was instantly killed by two bullets to the chest
  8. 23 August 2009, Beit Hanoun: Fawzi 'Ali Qassem, 63, was wounded by a gunshot to the left thigh
  9. 22 August 2009, Sheikh Zayed, Beit Lahia: Murad Salman al-Wazir, 17, wounded by a gunshot to the left leg.
  10. 21 July 2009, Abassan: Majed Majdi al-Farra, 20, was wounded by shrapnel to the right hand
  11. 19 July 2009, east of Gaza city: Ahmed Zuhair al-Semari, 22, was hit by a gunshot that entered the abdomen and exited the back. Kidnapped, transferred to Israeli hospital where died.
  12. 15 July 2009, Abassan Jedida – Faraheen: Karem Hamdan Sarem Qudeh, 16, injured by shrapnel, above the eye
  13. 2 July 2009, Juhr Ad Dik: Husam Abu A'yesh, 24, was also injured by shrapnel
  14. 2 July 2009, Juhr Ad Dik: Hiam Abu A'yesh, 17, killed by Israeli shell
  15. 5 June 2009, Shoka, Rafah: Khaled Ismail Mohammed Jahjuh was shot in his lower spine
  16. 3 June 2009, Beit Hanoun: 'Ali Mohammed al-Zummara, 65, injured by shrapnel in the back
  17. 3 June 2009, Beit Hanoun: Saleh Mohammed al-Zummara, 66, injured by a gunshot to the left hand
  18. 3 June 2009, Bedouin village 'Um An-Nassir': Ahmed Tawfiq Abu Hashish, 17, injured by shrapnel to the left shoulder and foot.
  19. 3 June 2009, Bedouin village 'Um An-Nassir': Saleh Ahmed al-Madani, 17, seriously injured by shrapnel to the neck and the left shoulder
  20. 20 May 2009, Beit Hanoun: Ziad Salem abu Hadayid, 23, was shot in his legs with live ammunition by Israeli forces.
  21. 7 May 2009, Rafah: Randa Shaloof, 32, was shot in her hand and chest with live ammunition by Israeli forces.
  22. 3 May 2009, Beit Hanoun: Mohamed Harb Shamia, 12, was injured in his leg and abducted by Israeli forces.
  23. 3 May 2009, East of Jabalya: 30-year-old Mona Selmi As-Sawarka was injured by shrapnel wounds to her chest
  24. 2 May 2009, Khoza'a: Nafith Abu T'eima, 35, injured in his neck by shrapnel from Israeli forces.
  25. 10 March 2009, al-Maghazi refugee camp: Muhannad Sehi Abu Mandil, 24, was shot in the left foot with live ammunition by Israeli forces.
  26. 24 February 2009, Khoza'a: Wafa Al Najar, 17, was shot in the kneecap with live ammuntion by Israeli forces.
  27. 18 February 2009, Al Faraheen: Mohammad al-Ibrim, 20, was shot in the right leg with live ammunition by Israeli forces.
  28. 14 February 2009, Jabaliya: Hammad Barrak Salem Silmiya, 13, was killed when Israeli forces shot him in the head with live ammunition.
  29. 27 January 2009, Al Faraheen: Anwar al Ibrim, 27, was killed when Israeli forces shot him in the neck with live ammunition.
  30. 27 January 2009, east of Deir Al Balah: Mohammed Salama al-Ma'ni, 21, was wounded by a gunshot to the left thigh.
  31. 25 January 2009, Khoza'a: Subhi Tafesh Qudaih, 55, was wounded by a gunshot to the back
  32. 23 January 2009, Khoza'a: Nabeel Ibrahim al-Najjar, 40, was wounded by shrapnel from a gunshot to the left hand by Israeli forces.
  33. 22 January 2009, Sheyjaiee: 7 year old Ahmed Hassanian shot in the head
  34. 20 January 2009, al-Qarara: Israeli soldiers shot Waleed al-Astal, 42, in his right foot.
  35. 18 January 2009, Khoza'a:Maher 'Abdul 'Azim Abu Rjaila, 23, was killed when Israeli forces shot him in the chest with live ammunition.

IOF troops wound two brothers in Gaza

[ 16/09/2009 - 10:31 AM ]

KHAN YOUNIS, (PIC)-- Two Palestinian brothers were wounded east of Khan Younis to the south of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in the explosion of an Israeli tank shell, Palestinian health ministry said.
It added in a statement that the two brothers Fadi Abu Muamer, 28, and Mohammed Abu Muamer, 26, were wounded with the shell's shrapnel.
Both were rushed to the operations room suffering from wounds all over their bodies, the ministry added.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Israel targeting fishermen, farmers in Gaza

Eva Bartlett, The Electronic Intifada, 11 September 2009

Masoud Tanboura at Kamal Adwan hospital. (Eva Bartlett)

On 31 August, Israeli gunboats shot at and shelled the fishing trawler of Khaled al-Habil, destroying it completely and leaving the boat's 18 fishermen and their families without a source of income.

One week earlier, on 24 August, Israeli soldiers along Gaza's northern border shot dead a young farm worker, Said al-Hussumi. Sixteen-year-old al-Hussumi was killed while working on land a few hundred meters from the border with his cousin Masoud Tanboura, who was seriously wounded.

"We were working in Attatra, near the sea, about 350 meters from the [border] fence," said Tanboura of Beit Lahiya.

Tanboura's survival is miraculous as his chest cavity was pierced from left to right by a bullet. After seeing his cousin fall dead upon being shot in the chest, Tanboura ran and walked what he estimates was a kilometer, bleeding heavily from his chest, until he came across farmers with a donkey cart. He was transported by donkey cart until a car was able to take him to the Kamal Adwan hospital.

Israeli military sources told reporters two "suspicious" persons had approached the border with Israel and ignored warning shots.

"There was no warning," Tanboura said from his hospital bed. "The Israelis started shooting as soon as we got to the land."

Farm laborers working for 20 to 30 shekels ($5-$6) a day, the two youths had been scouring for pieces of metal to use to fence off the plot of land. They had gotten closer to the border, but this was normal.

"We went there all the time," said Tanboura. "The Israeli soldiers always saw us, they knew we were just taking metal. Many people go there to take metal from destroyed houses," he said.

According to Tanboura, his cousin's dead body was dragged across the ground by Israeli soldiers who took the corpse to Israel and returned it hours later via the Erez crossing.

Tanboura, like some of his brothers, used the meager salary from day labor on farms to support the 15 other siblings in his family.

Killed while collecting figs

On 4 September, 14-year-old Ghazi al-Zaneen from Beit Hanoun was killed when an Israeli soldier shot him in the head. Along with his father, uncles and some of his siblings, the youth had gone to collect figs on their land east of Beit Hanoun. Although it is near the border with Israel, the farmland where al-Zaneen was killed is still more than 500 meters away.

"They had driven to the land and were walking in the area. Ghazi got up on the rubble of a house to look further. Then the Israelis started shooting heavily. Everyone lay on the ground. When the shooting stopped, they got up to run away and realized that Ghazi had been shot in the head," said his aunt.

Maher al-Zaneen, Ghazi's father, testified to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights that Israeli soldiers continued to fire as he carried the injured boy to the car. Ghazi al-Zaneen succumbed to his critical head injuries the following day.

The day after his death, Ghazi's mother sat surrounded by female relatives and friends. She asked, "How would mothers in your country feel if their sons were killed like this? Don't your politicians care that Israel is killing our children?"

Israeli authorities reportedly claimed that "suspicious Palestinians approached the fence" and troops responded by "firing into the air." But the shot to Ghazi al-Zaneen's head and the two bullet holes in Maher al-Zaneen's car suggest otherwise.

Since the end of Israel's three-week winter invasion of Gaza during which approximately 1,500 Palestinians were killed, nine more Palestinian civilians have been killed at sea or on the strip's border regions. This includes four minors and one mentally disabled adult. Another 30 Palestinians, including eight minors, have been wounded by Israeli shooting and shelling, including by the use of "flechette" dart-bombs on civilian areas.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, roughly one third of Gaza's agricultural land lies within the Israel's unilaterally-imposed "no go zone," or "buffer zone." This band of land stretching south to north along Gaza's borders to Israel was established in late 2000 during the second Palestinian intifada. Initially set at 150 meters, it has varied over time. At one point, it was nearly two kilometers in the north and one kilometer in the east. At present, Israeli authorities say 300 meters along the border are "off limits" and those found within the area risk being shot at by Israeli soldiers.

However, one case demonstrates that Israeli soldiers will shoot at Palestinian civilians as far away from the border as 1,800 meters. Sixty-three-year-old Fawzi Ali Qassem was on his land east of Beit Hanoun, at least 1,800 meters away from the border, when Israeli soldiers opened fire on farmers. Ali Qassem was hit in his left thigh on 23 August 2009.

Under a brutal 27-month-long siege, the Israeli military is killing fishermen, farmers and other civilians in areas it is deliberately trying to depopulate. This represents yet another component in Israel's matrix of control over the lives of Palestinians in Gaza. In the face of such blatant Israeli military terrorizing, Palestinians remain defiantly resilient, farming, fishing and living under fire.

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.

Israeli forces target Gazans from sea, northern border and south

Published today (updated) 15/09/2009 15:02

Gaza - Ma'an - Twenty-six year old Muhammad Odeh Abu Mu’ammar and his 28-year-old brother were wounded by what medics in Khan Younis said was shrapnel from an Israeli artillery shell Tuesday afternoon.

The attack, which left the men in moderate condition, followed two other incidents earlier in the day.

Israeli naval squadrons opened fire on Gazan fishermen in their boats off the shore of Tel As-Sultan in Rafah on Tuesday morning, and military forces clashed with fighters in the north. No injuries were reported from either incident.

Eyewitnesses reported an Israeli gunboat fired on a cluster of fishermen on the southern coast of Gaza without warning, causing no damage or injuries.

In the north near Beit Lahiya, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)'s military wing, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, reported a clash with invading Israeli forces near the border area at the As-Sifa neighborhood. A statement from the group said Israeli forces responded with machine gun fire and small grenades.

In their statement the group said they would maintain their resistance operations as a method of resisting the Israeli occupation.

Eyewitnesses: Undercover Israeli troops enter Gaza, detain three

Published yesterday (updated) 15/09/2009 14:32

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Undercover Israeli forces entered the Gaza Strip Monday morning and took three unidentified Palestinians from the bridge area near the Al-Bureij Refugee Camp in the central Strip, eyewitnesses said.

The operation is the second of its kind in the central region, with eyewitnesses reporting troops invading the same area on Saturday with troops entering 60 meters in under helicopter cover. Troops reportedly nabbed a farm guard and interrogated him for hours before setting him free. Israeli military sources denied the report.

Apparently as a retaliation for the invasion and detentions, unknown Palestinian resistance fighters launched a Rocket-Propelled Grenade at the undercover Israeli force. No casualties have been reported.

South of Al-Bureij, at the Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp, eyewitnesses said three mortar shells were fired at an Israeli vehicle patrolling the border fence east of the camp.

Israeli sources stated only that an anti-missile shell was fired at forces in the central Strip, and noted that soldiers did not return fire. They reported no casualties.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Witnesses: Israeli forces infiltrate Strip, fire at homes, detain one

Published yesterday (updated) 13/09/2009 09:11

Gaza – Ma’an – Several Israeli military vehicles entered the Gaza Strip near the Al-Bureij Refugee Camp in the central area, Palestinian sources confirmed Saturday.

According to eyewitnesses, an Israeli military force penetrated 60 meters inside Palestinian lands early Saturday, and opened fire on Palestinian homes. Helicopters were seen flying overhead of the invading forces, appearing to give cover to the troop.

While in the Strip soldiers detained a farm guard, identified as Salah Tawil, who was released some hours later following an interrogation.

The action follows days of quiet along the Gaza border, during a period where violence in the area was rapidly heating up. Most of the violence occurred in the northern Strip.

An Israeli military spokesperson said there were no reports of activity in the area.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

PCHR weekly report: 3-9/11/2009: 1 child killed, 1 civilian injured, 5 children shepherds abducted

excerpt from PCHR weekly report No. 36/2009 03 . 09 Sep. 2009

Thursday, 03 September 2009

At approximately 10:00, IOF moved nearly 400 meters into the southeast of al-Shoja'eya neighborhood, east of Gaza City. They leveled areas of previously-razed Palestinian land. They also destroyed a number of water heating tanks. Armed clashes erupted between IOF and activists of the Palestinian resistance, during which an activist was wounded.

Friday, 04 September 2009

At approximately 12:00, IOF moved nearly 200 meters into Abu Raida area in the east of Khuza'a village, east of Khan Yunis. They leveled areas of previously-razed Palestinian land.

In the afternoon, IOF killed a 14-year-old child, Ghazi al-OZa’anin, in Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip. IOF troops shot the child from close range, while he was walking with his family. This child was the second to be killed by IOF in less than a week. PCHR's investigations, and eye-witness testimony, indicates that, at approximately 13:40 on Friday, 4 September 2009, Maher Ghazi al-Za’anin drove his four children, including Ghazi, 14, to their farm, 500 meters away from the border with Israel, in the northeast of Beit Hanoun town. Before arriving at the farm, al-Za’anin and his children stepped down from the car and approached their land on foot. On their way to the farm, they were surprised by an Israeli military jeep that stopped opposite to them. Al-Za’anin and his children were frightened, and ran away. IOF soldiers who were inside the jeep immediately opened fire. Ghazi was wounded by a bullet to the head and fell to the ground. The father carried the child to their car, whereupon IOF soldiers fired at the car, hitting it with two bullets. The father drove to Beit Hanoun Hospital and the child was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as he was in a critical condition. Ghazi was admitted to the intensive care unit, where he was pronounced dead on the following morning, Saturday, 5 September 2009.

Sunday, 06 September 2009

At approximately 17:30, IOF troops moved nearly 150 meters into the north of the Bedouin Village in the northern Gaza Strip. They arrested 5 Palestinian children while grazing animals:

1. Mohammed 'Arafat Abu Khousa, 17;

2. Sameh 'Abdul Qader Abu Hashish, 15;

3. Fraih Qassem Abu Hashish, 12;

4. 'Aa'ed Hazzaa' Abu Hashish, 16; and

5. Ibrahim Shihda Abu Jarad, 17.

Tuesday, 08 September 2009

At approximately 20:00, IOF move nearly 300 meters into Hamdoush area in the north of Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip. They opened fire at Palestinian civilian property, but no casualties were reported. They withdrew from the area at approximately 01:55 on Wednesday, 09 September 2009.

Wednesday, 09 September 2009

At approximately 07:00, Maysara Mohammed Hussein al-Kafarna, 24, from Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip, was admitted into Beit Hanoun Hospital as he was wounded by a gunshot to the right foot. IOF troops positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel fired at him when he was approximately 350 meters away from the border.

At approximately 10:00, IOF moved nearly 700 meters into the north of Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip. They opened fire at Palestinian houses and farms. No casualties were reported

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

bless his soul: Gaza Ramadan day 16

In Gaza

ghazi zaneen

*Ghazi Zaneen, 14, shot in the head by Israeli soldiers. Killed 4 September.

Before Ramadan began, I had thought of writing something on family’s with martyrs, as any special time (holiday or other) is difficult in the absence of recently lost loved ones. In Gaza, following Israel’s latest massacre which left 1500 martyred, I knew there would be many families with one or more martyrs this Ramadan.

I hadn’t considered new martyrs though.

Since Ramadan began 16 days, ago on 22 August, at least 7 Palestinians have been directly martyred by Israeli soldiers in Gaza alone, with another youth (15 years old) shot dead by an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank. Another 3 Palestinians were indirectly killed by Israel, dying in a tunnel collapse, with another man injured. The tunnel workers would be unemployed (and alive) if Israel’s siege on Gaza were ended and a normal functioning economy and border crossings resumed, allowing people here a human quality of life. At present, animals are given more rights than the Palestinians of Gaza.

[The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory Maxwell Gaylard, calling for an end to the siege on Gaza, said:

“The deterioration and breakdown of water and sanitation facilities in Gaza is compounding an already severe and protracted denial of human dignity in the Gaza Strip…At the heart of this crisis is a steep decline in standards of living for the people of Gaza, characterized by erosion of livelihoods, destruction and degradation of basic infrastructure, and a marked downturn in the delivery and quality of vital services in health, water and sanitation.”]

These martyred include:

-Sa’id ‘Ata al-Hussumi, 16, working on a farm in Beit Lahia, 350m from the northern Green Line border, instantly killed by two bullets to the chest on 24 August.

-Three brothers, Mansour ‘Ali al-Batniji, 30, Na’el ‘Ali al-Batniji , 20, and Ibrahim ‘Ali al-Batniji, 25, all reportedly killed when an Israeli warplane fired a missile at a tunnel on the Palestinian-Egyptian border on 25 August.

-Mohammed Nadi al-’Attar, 25, from Beit Lahia, killed when an IOF navy gunboat fired at shell at him as he swam some metres away from the beach on 27 August. He was a fisherman, entering the waters to net fish to bring food to his family’s table.

-3 brothers from the Al-Lahhams family of Khan Younis, reportedly killed in a tunnel collapse on 28 August.

-’Esmat As’ad Sahra, 25, and Faraj Isma’il al-Najjar, 29, both members of resistance from Jabalya, northern Gaza, whom Hamas said were killed by Israeli artillery shelling in the east of Jabalya, as they monitored the movement of the Israeli military on 1 September.

-Ghazi Zaneen, 14, from Beit Hanoun, on family land reportedly 500m from Green Line border when shot in the head by an IOF soldier; he died the following day, on 5 September.

Some of the wounded are:

-Murad Salman al-Wazir, 17, from Sheikh Zayed, reportedly 900m from the Green Line when IOF soldiers shot him in the leg on 22 August.

-Fawzi ‘Ali Qassem, 63, reportedly on his land east of Beit Hanoun and at least 1,800 meters away from, the border when IOF soldiers opened fire on farmers, shooting him in his left thigh on 23 August.

-Mas’oud Mohammed Tanboura, 19, working on a farm in Beit Lahia, 350m from the northern Green Line border,seriously wounded by one bullet to his chest on 24 August.

-6 Palestinians were reportedly wounded in the Israeli airstrike on a tunnel, which killed the 3 al-Batniji brothers on 25 August.

-17-year-old ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al-Masri from Beit Hanoun region, shot by invading IOF soldiers who shot at Palestinian resistance on 2 September.

Today I met the family of one of the latest murdered. Ghazi Zaneen, 14 years old, was shot in the head 2 days ago by Israeli soldiers at the northeastern Green Line border fence, east of Beit Hanoun. He had been with his family on land reportedly 500 m from the border fence to collect figs. His mother said Ghazi had stood on some rubble to see further. A curiosity to see, from his own land, warranted a bullet to the head?

The mourning tent was erected outside of his Beit Hanoun home, men sitting outside consoling the father and male relatives. Inside, Ghazi’s mother, sisters, female relatives and friends sat mourning the youth.

His mother, 33, is just one year older than me, yet has lived the life of decades of Palestinian women with sons and loved ones martyred. The inevitability of Israeli soldiers killing or wounding a loved one doesn’t ease the pain. She must have done her most intense mourning immediately with the news of her boy’s slaughter. In her home, she sat, drained, and asked the simple, poignant questions on many mothers’ minds:

“How would mothers in your country feel if their sons were killed like this? Don’t your politicians care that Israel is killing our children?”

There is no satisfactory answer, because obviously most of us don’t begin to know the pain of a child murdered, shot in the head, robbed of his/her future. Most of us can’t imagine living with the daily fear that one of these days our child will be killed or abducted and imprisoned.

As for the question about the politicians, no, they don’t care. A noble minority do care, do speak out, do stand up to Zionist lobby pressures, do use their elected power. But the rest are sheep, Zionists, or somehow ignorantly indifferent.

To them, I say, mothers in Palestine [Iraq, Afghanistan, ...] say, come, meet the families of loved ones shot in the head, shelled in the sea, bombed in their homes,smothered in the tunnels. Listen, see, feel…

For if you have your senses, you can’t deny these injustices, can’t rationalize them away with Zionist rhetoric. You can only, with deep sadness, say ‘alayerhamo’, God bless his soul.

IOF troops kidnap three citizens in northern Gaza

[ 07/09/2009 - 10:21 AM ]

BEIT LAHIA, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped three Palestinian citizens near the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Lahia during an incursion on Sunday evening, local sources reported.

The sources told PIC reporter that an IOF armored unit advanced hundreds of meters into northern Gaza at the outskirts of Beit Lahia and kidnapped three citizens whose identity was not known yet.

The Nasser Salahuddin Brigades, the armed wing of the popular resistance committees, said its fighters blasted two explosive devices in the invading unit.

It said that the IOF was hiding its losses, and added that the operation was in response to the ceaseless IOF crimes against the Palestinian people.

In a later development, an IOF chopper fired a missile at an open area north of Beit Lahia but no casualties were reported.

Monday, September 7, 2009

IOF Kidnap Five Palestinian Children in North Gaza


Al Mezan


The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has continued to escalate its aggression against the Gaza Strip. Yesterday, Sunday 6 September 2009, the IOF penetrated the south of Beit Lahia town in North Gaza district and kidnapped five Palestinian children. This new escalation comes amid the tight Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip which is causing a continual deterioration in the human rights situation and humanitarian conditions.

According to investigations conducted by Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Israeli troops infiltrated Beit Lahia from the northern separation fence. They passed through the vacated 'Nizanit' settlement in the northeast of Biet Lahia in North Gaza District. At approximately 6pm on the same day, the Israeli forces deployed in an uninhabited sandy area north of the Bedouin Village (Umm An-Nasser). The IOF detonated an explosive device in that area. Soldiers then stopped and kidnapped five Palestinian children who were on their way home after grazing sheep. This kidnaping took place a few minutes before Ramadan Iftar (breaking of the fast). Al Mezan has obtained the names of these children which are as follows:

- Mohammed Arafat Abu Khusa, 17;

- Ibrahim Shehda Abu Jarad, 16;

- Sameh Abdul Qader Abu Hashish, 15;

- Freeh Qasem Abu Hashish, 13; and

- 'A'ed Hazaa' Abu Hashish, 16.

At approximately 6:15pm on the same day, an Israeli helicopter provided cover for the withdrawal of the Israeli forces by opening fire at the northern and eastern borders of the Bedouin village. The IOF detained the children and took them inside the separation fence into Israel. None of them had been released by the time of issuing this press release.

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights condemns the continued Israeli aggression against Palestinian civilians in Gaza. The Centre strongly condemns that arrest of the five children while they were returning from grazing. Al Mezan also strongly condemns the continued collective punishment, represented in its cruelest form by the tight siege that has caused the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian patients, the collapse of the economy, and rocketing poverty and unemployment in the Gaza Strip. This systematic impoverishment and suffocation of Palestinians living in Gaza Strip violates international law and must be urgently halted.

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights expresses its strongest condemnation of the escalating violations of human rights committed by the IOF in Gaza. In particular Al Mezan condemns the targeting of Palestinian children and civilians near the separation fence. Al Mezan emphasizes that the silence of the international community and its failure to fulfill its obligations towards civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) have only encouraged Israel to continue its violations of international law. Al Mezan therefore reiterates its calls upon the international community to take prompt and effective action to end Israel's violations in the oPt; many of which constitute grave breaches of international humanitarian law.

IOF willfully kill a child in Beit Hanoun town, northern Gaza

Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)

6 September 2009

On Friday afternoon, 4 September 2009, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed a 14-year-old child, Ghazi al-Za’anin, in Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip. IOF troops shot the child from close range, while he was walking with his family. This child was the second to be killed by IOF in less than a week.

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) investigations, and eye-witness testimony, indicates that, at approximately 13:40 on Friday, 4 September 2009, Maher Ghazi al-Za’anin drove his four children, including Ghazi, 14, to their farm, 500 meters away from the border with Israel, in the northeast of Beit Hanoun town. Before arriving at the farm, al-Za’anin and his children stepped down from the car and approached their land on foot. On their way to the farm, they were surprised by an Israeli military jeep that stopped opposite to them. Al-Za’anin and his children were frightened, and ran away. IOF soldiers who were inside the jeep immediately opened fire. Ghazi was wounded by a bullet to the head and fell to the ground. The father carried the child to their car, whereupon IOF soldiers fired at the car, hitting it with two bullets. The father drove to Beit Hanoun Hospital and the child was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as he was in a critical condition. Ghazi was admitted to the intensive care unit, where he was pronounced dead on the following morning, Saturday, 5 September 2009.

PCHR has recently documented many cases in which IOF positioned along the border opened fired at agricultural areas and houses. It is believed that these attacks are intended to deny Palestinian farmers access to their agricultural land, some of which lie within the so-called ‘buffer zone’.

PCHR strongly condemns the murder of a child by IOF, and:

1. Reiterates condemnation of this latest crime, which is part of a series of crimes committed by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
2. Calls upon the international community to promptly and urgently take action in order to stop such crimes, and renews its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations and provide protection to Palestinian civilians in the OPT.