Tuesday, March 30, 2010

IOF assaults on Land Day demos: 4 youths shot at close range

In Gaza

March 30, 2010

Four non-violent demonstrators were shot at close range with live ammunition by Israeli soldiers during six simultaneous protests throughout the Gaza Strip commemorating “Land Day”.
Three of those injured come from Khoza’a, a village east of Khan Younis in Gaza’s south. The fourth, from Deir al Balah, was participating in a peaceful demonstration east of Meghazi, central Gaza.
The Khoza’a demonstration neared the border shortly after 12 noon. Israeli jeeps stopped along the Green Line border, their number increasing quickly. Israeli soldiers exited their jeeps and assumed sniper positions on a raised dirt mound and along the border fence.
Jemah Najjar, 22, was the first to fasten a Palestinian flag to the border fence in today’s demonstration. He was also the first injured in the Khoza’a region, roughly 10 minutes after he had placed the flag on the fence, he estimates.
Israeli soldiers repeatedly opened fire on the very visibly unarmed demonstrators, without any verbal warning, nor without warning shots in the air.
Pieces of the IOF bullet which struck Jemah Najjar are still lodged in his head. He will require an operation to remove them, if it is possible.

Walla’a Najjar, 18, was shot just above the kneecap by an IOF soldier at close range.
“I saw the soldier who shot me. He didn’t give any warning, just shot me right away.”
Walla’a Najjar is fortunate that the bullet did not hit an artery, although as it was he was bleeding heavily. Doctors say his leg has been fractured by the bullet. Palestinian medics confirm that in their experience Israeli soldiers routinely aim for the upper thigh area where an artery lies. If not treated quickly, victims can bleed to death from an artery injury.

Hani Najjar, 17, also has bullet shrapnel in his body. “The Israeli soldier was lying on a dirt mound across from us. He fired at me without warning.”
The bullet, fired from a distance of roughly less than 50 metres, hit below Hani Najjar’s knee. He will need an operation to remove the multiple pieces of shrapnel deeply embedded in his flesh. He had planned on attending the demonstration and continuing on to his nearby high school.
Fellow protestors carried the injured roughly half a kilometer to a place which ambulances could access. The border region is notoriously dangerous for all, including medics who under international law should have unheeded access to the injured. But through experience, medics in Gaza know they cannot reach victims in the border regions.

Mohammed Ot’ti, 21, from Deir al Balah, was in a demonstration further north along the border, east of Meghazi camp, central Gaza.
Ot’ti was the first to place a flag on the fence in his demonstration and was shot immediately after by an Israeli soldier, at close range.
“Last time they shouted at us and mostly fired in the air,” Ot’ti said, referring to last week’s demo in Waddi Salqqa. “This time, they didn’t say anything or give any warning. They just shot me.”
Like the others, Ot’ti says when he is healed, he’ll resume going to the demonstrations.

Mahmoud Az Zaq, co-coordinator of the Committee Against the Buffer Zone, said: “The Israelis should have fired warning shots, but instead they just shot directly at the youths”
Ma’an news reports that an Israeli military spokesman said an investigation showed “soldiers operated in accordance with accepted dispersal procedures,” in regards to the IOF violence against unarmed protestors.
To commemorate Land day, the Committee Against the Buffer Zone and the Local Initiative from Beit Hanoun organized 6 protests, in Rafah, Khoza’a, Meghazi, Karni, Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya.
Land Day remembers the murder of six Palestinians 34 years ago who were themselves protesting the Israeli annexation of Palestinian land.
Today’s protests are the latest in demonstrations growing in frequency and numbers, protesting the Israeli-imposed “buffer zone” and calling for the rights of Palestinians to work and live on their land, without threat of being shot or abducted by Israeli soldiers.
In May 2009, Israeli planes leafleted “buffer zone” areas re-iterating the Israeli imposition of a 300 metre off-limits area, within which anyone is subject to Israeli fire. In reality, Israeli soldiers shoot up to 2 km on farmers and civilians on their land, including children and women.
In Land Day commemorations yesterday and today, Palestinians throughout occupied Palestine tended olive and fruit trees, dressed in traditional Palestinian clothing, danced Dabke and showed the Palestinian spirit which until now has not been quashed by Israeli brutality.

IOF Open Fire on a Peaceful Assembly east of Khan Younis, Three Injured


At app. 12:30am on Tuesday 30 March 2010, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) opened fire on a peaceful assembly for the 'Popular Campaign against the Buffer Zone'.  The demonstration was organized on the commemoration of the Territory Day, which is 31 March. Hundreds of protesters gathered east of Khuza'a village,  100 meters away from the separation fence, east of Khan Younis. As a result, three persons were injured. Al Mezan identified their names as follows:
  1. Joma'a Ramadan An-Najar,17, shot by a bullet in the head and his medical status is described as critical;
  2. Hani Riyadh An-Najar,17, injured in the legs; and
  3. Walaa Faried An-Najar, 19, injured in the right thigh.
The demonstrators left the area immediately. Ambulances arrived and carried the injured persons to the European Gaza Hospital for medical treatment.

IOF Open Fire on Palestinians east of Al Maghazi Refugee Camp; One Injured


Al Mezan

At app. 11am on Tuesday 30 March 2010, several people gathered in the east of Al Maghazi refugee camp to celebrate the Territory Day, which is on  31 March. Several delegates from different areas went there as a popular protest against the 'buffer zone', near the eastern borders between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The IOF, which are usually positioned near the separation fence, opened fire on the protesters. As a result, Mohammed Hani Al 'Ati, 21, was injured in the right leg. He was admitted to Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Dier Al Balah for medical treatment.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palestinian Medical Teams Find a Dead Body in Abssan Village east of Khan Younis


At app. 6pm on Sunday 28 March 2010, medical teams from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society found the dead body of Suliman Abdel Hakem Arafat, 22, 400 meters away from the eastern separation fence, in east Abssan village, east of Khan Younis. Arafat was shot by several bullets in the head and the chest. His family lost contact with him during the Israeli incursion inside Abssan village. When the IOF withdrew from Abssan village, they opened fire on Palestinians who were trying to find potentially injured people in agricultural lands near the borders. As a result, a child was injured and another young man was killed. Al Mezan identified their names as follows:
Abed Rabbu Abu Anza,17, was shot in the shoulder; and escaped from the area; and
Haitham Abdel Hakeem Aref Arafat, 20, was shot and injured trying to find his son who was believed to be injured during the Israeli incursion.
Later, medical sources at Nasir Hospital in Khan Younis, announced the death of Haitham who died from  his injuries.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Israeli invasion into southeastern Gaza kills 4, injures 8, destroys a home and ravages farmland

In Gaza 

On 26 March, fighting erupted between Palestinian resistance and invading Israeli soldiers when IOF jeeps, tanks, and bulldozers invaded, supported by F-16s, Apache helicopters and unmanned drones from above.
Two Israeli soldiers were reported killed and 2 more injured. Medics with the Red Crescent report that three Palestinian resistance fighters were killed, along with 1 civilian, Haitam Arafat, 22 years old, shot on his land.
Eight more Palestinians were injured, according to Muawiyya Hassaniin, director of emergency services in Gaza. The injured include Osama Abu Dagga, a child of 6 years, shot in the head while in his home 2 km from the border. He is in critical condition.

While the invasion was underway, locals reported several F-16 Israeli warplanes, Apache helicopters, drones, roughly 20 tanks and 6 bulldozers.
During the Israeli invasion, Palestinian ambulances were unable to reach the injured, delayed and unable to attain coordination from Israeli authorities to retrieve the injured, although international law obligates Israel to accord this permission.
Long after the fighting between the resistance and invading Israeli soldiers, 3 Israeli bulldozers destroyed the home of Hashem Abu Daggma and surrounding farmland, all well over 500 metres from the border.

“They came around 11 pm and stayed until 3 am,” accompanied by tanks and aerial reinforcement, said a cousin of Abu Daggma’s, one of 15 living in the home until yesterday.
“I have no idea why they destroyed the home. It’s the third time they’ve attacked the house. Eight months ago they destroyed the outer side walls. Five months ago they destroyed the back wall. And this time they finished the job,” he said.
Abdel Aziz and Ibrahim Egdiah own 1.5 dunams next to the Abu Daggma home.

“We had parsley, radishes, olive and palm trees. Some of our trees were over 25 years old,” said Ibrahim Egdiah.
“Twelve people depend on this land,” he said, throwing aside a mangled olive branch. “Mish haram?” Isn’t this shameful?
Jaber Abu Rjila, a resident of Faraheen in the greater Abassan area, watched the Israeli invasion from a rooftop in the village a kilometre away.
“There were up to 20 tanks at the height of the invasions. The F-16, Apaches, drones and tanks were firing rockets, missiles and machine gun fire. I really felt that they might come into Faraheen again.”
Rjila’s house and chicken farm, 500 metres from the border, was ravaged in May 2008, his chicken barn destroyed, all but a percentage of the birds, farm equipment, and crops.
Rjila and other farmers in the border regions are constantly subject to Israeli soldier gunfire from border jeeps and towers.
“Many people are worried that Israel might come back and do something worse,” said Rjila. Today, the day after the invasion, Israeli bulldozers were visible waiting along the border.

Friday, March 26, 2010

IOF Continue Attacks on Palestinian Workers near the Borders; One Child Injured


At app. 1:30pm on Friday 26 March 2010, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF), which are usually positioned in the northern separation fence in the vicinity of Erez crossing, opened fire sporadically on Palestinian workers. As a result, Said Abdel Aziz Hamdan, 15, was injured in the left leg. He was admitted to Kamal Odwan Hospital where his injuries are described as moderate. Hamdan was with his brothers and other workers 100 meters away from the separation fence removing rubble from destroyed buildings in the vicinity of Erez crossing. These workers collect rubble to sell it to brick factories which recycle it into bricks. According to Al Mezan's field investigations, the IOF has recently opened fire on Palestinian workers and arrested dozens of them. This is the first time in which the IOF has  injured a Palestinian workers

Teenager shot by Israeli forces in northern Gaza

ISM Gaza
26 March 2010

Hamdan's knee after being shot by Israeli forces while gathering 
scrap metal
Hamdan's knee after being shot by Israeli forces while gathering scrap metal
Said Abdel Aziz Hamdan, 15, went for his first time to Gaza’s northern border area to try gathering scrap metal for re-sale. Although an area lined with Israeli military towers and notorious for Israeli soldier shooting, shelling and abductions of Palestinian workers and farmers, Hamdan did not feel he would be in danger. “People go there everyday to gather bits of metal and concrete. The Israelis see us and know we are just working, it’s normal,” he said from his hospital bed in Jabaliya’s Kamal Adwan hospital.
Hamdan set out from home shortly after 10 am Friday, going with his younger brother Suleiman, 13, to earn whatever shekels they could. From a family of 7 brothers and 5 sisters and whose father is unemployed, Said Hamdan had no other options for employment.
“My friends go every Friday, so I decided to join them today, to try this work.”
The bullet which struck Said shortly before 2pm as he was leaving the area came from the direction of a nearby Israeli military tower. It pierced his upper left thigh, entering from outer thigh and exiting from inner thigh, leaving a 2 cm exit wound, his doctor said.
“The Israelis fired without warning,” said Hamdan.
“There were many people there, working like me,” he said of the area, a former Israeli settlement known as ‘Dugit’.
Still in high school, Hamdan is training as a mechanic and hopes to find work to supplement his family’s income. “My father used to work in Israel, but he’s been unemployed for years now.”
Said Hamdan’s injury is neither new nor surprising. Every week, Israeli soldiers shoot upon and abduct Palestinian workers in the border regions of Gaza.
Some of the recent IOF aggressions against Palestinians in the border regions include:
-Naji Abu Reeda, 35, shot in the leg on the morning of 25 March as he worked collecting rubble 500 metres from the border for re-sale.
-On 24 March, 7 am, Israeli soldiers invaded northern Gaza and arrested five Palestinians collecting rubble, including:
Mahmoud Ma’rouf, 18
Shadi Ma’rouf, 18
Mustafa Ghanim, 43
-On 20 March, around 2:30 pm, Israeli soldiers arrested 17 Palestinians collecting rubble in the Beit Hanoun industrial area approximately 900 metres from the border, including:
Mohanad Al Kafarna, 11
Khalid Mahdi Hamdien, 14
Ismail Mahdi Hamdien, 13
Mohammed Al Basioni, 22
Mohammed Salih Afana, 22
Tareq Zyiad Al Afifi, 20
Mohammed Zyiad Al Afifi, 18
Tawfeq Samir Sababa, 19
Usama Mhammaden, 19
Ali Jamal Akhrawat, 24
Kamal Jamal Akhrawat, 20
Anwar Mohammed Hamad, 51
Alaa Al Masri, 18
Diab Al Kafarna, 20
Attaf Rafeq Hamad, 25
Ibrahim Mahdi Hamdien, 16
Those venturing to the border regions to gather rubble and steel do so as a result of the siege on Gaza which, along with Israel’s 23 day winter war on Gaza, has decimated Gaza’s economy, including 95 percent of Gaza’s factories and businesses, according to the United Nations. Additionally, these recycled construction materials are vital in Gaza where the Israeli-led, internationally-complicit, siege bans all but under 40 items from entering.
The barbaric siege prevents vitally needed construction materials from entering Gaza, where over 6,400 houses were destroyed or severely damaged in the Israeli war on Gaza, and nearly 53,000 sustained lesser damages. Hospitals and medical centres, schools, kindergartens and mosques are among the other buildings destroyed and damaged during the Israeli war on Gaza.
Since Israel’s war on Gaza, only 0.05 percent of the monthly average prior to the siege had been allowed into Gaza as of December 2009.
Updated on March 26, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Israeli fire injures 1 in southern Gaza

Published yesterday (updated) 25/03/2010 22:25
Gaza – Ma'an – A Palestinian worker was critically injured on Thursday morning as the Israeli forces at the closed Sufa crossing opened fire on a group of men collecting rubble for the re-manufacturing of construction materials, medics said.

Director of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, Muawiya Hassanein, identified the injured man as Naji Abu Rayda, 32, noting he was shot in the back and transferred to the European Hospital.

An Israeli military spokesman said he was unfamiliar any such incident in the area of the Sufa crossing.

Israeli news sources reported a similar incident near the Rafah crossing, southwest of Sufa. The spokesman said he had no knowledge of an incident matching either description.

According to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Rayda was injured in the right thigh when he and several other workers were approximately 500 meters from the border fence.

Earlier in the week, Al Mezan reported Israeli soldiers near the Erez crossing opened fired on men "collecting rubble to sell to brick factories, which recycles it into bricks." The men were reportedly 100 meters away from the border.

"This is the only source of bricks for construction that is available in the Gaza Strip, which suffers from an acute shortage of construction materials due the Israeli siege," the report said.

Two days earlier, Israeli forces reportedly arrested 20 Palestinian workers who were collecting the rubble from destroyed buildings in the northern Gaza Strip. The report said four of those detained were children. Eight were released the next day after interrogations, the report said.


IOF Open Fire on Palestinian Workers east of Khan Yunis; One person injured

At app. 8am on Thursday 25 March 2010, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) which are usually positioned in the vicinity of the Sofa crossing, in north east of Khan Younis opened fire sporadically on Palestinian workers. As a result, Naji Suliman Alabed Abu Reda, 35, was injured in the top of his right thigh. He was admitted to the European Gaza Hospital where his injures are described as moderate. These workers were 500 meters away from the separation fence removing rubble from destroyed buildings in the vicinity of Sofa crossing. These workers collect rubble to 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 an acute shortage of construction materials due the Israeli siege.

PCHR weekly report 18/3 - 24/3/10: bombings, incursions, shootings, abductions, injuries

extracts from PCHR weekly report 18/3 - 24/3/10

IOF continued to fire at Palestinian farmers and workers in border areas of the Gaza Strip.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

At approximately 11:30, Israeli troops stationed at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, to the east of 'Abassan village, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at a peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians in protest to the establishment of a security fence and 'buffer zone' along the border. No casualties were reported.  

Friday, 19 March 2010 

At approximately 01:25, Israeli F-16 fighter jets dropped a bomb on a farm in the east of ‘Abasan village, east of Khan Yunis. No casualties or material damage were reported.  The Israeli radio claimed that the Israeli Air Force had targeted a tunnel established for infiltration into Israel.

At approximately 22:20, Israeli warplanes fired four missiles at Gaza International Airport, southeast of Rafah.  Thirteen Palestinian civilians, including two children, were wounded as a result. The wounded civilians, who are all residents of Rafah, were collecting raw aggregate from the destroyed runway of the Airport. They are:

1. Hazem Salman Abu Sitta, 24, seriously wounded by shrapnel to the chest and the back;
2. Mohammed Ahmed al-'Assar, 18, seriously wounded by shrapnel to the right elbow;
3. Mo'men Ahmed al-Debari, 15, seriously wounded by shrapnel to the right hand;
4. 'Areef Tarrash Rabee', 41, seriously wounded by shrapnel to the head;
5. 'Abdul Rahman Mohammed Abu Shalhoub, 22, seriously wounded by shrapnel to the head;
6. Mohammed 'Aatef Abu Hussein, 20, seriously wounded by shrapnel to the head;
7. 'Alaa' 'Areef Rabee', 20, wounded by shrapnel to the right forearm;
8. Na'el Riad Abu Tailakh, 20, wounded by shrapnel to the pelvis;
9. Suleiman Nabeel Mansour, 18, shocked;
10. Mohammed Hammad Abu Leila, 20, shocked;
11. Hussam Suleiman Abu Sitta, 23, sustained a fracture to the right elbow;
12. Mahmoud Mohammed Abu Shalhoub, 20, sustained a fracture to the right leg; and
13. 'Abdullah Hammad Hussein, 24, sustained bruises to the right elbow and knee.

Saturday, 20 March 2010  

At approximately 14:30, an Israeli infantry unit moved nearly 900 meters into the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli troops chased a number of Palestinian workers who were collecting bricks and aggregate from the debris of the destroyed industrial zone. A number of workers were able to flee, but Israeli troops arrested 17 others, including 4 children, and confiscated 4 animal carts. At approximately 02:00 on the following day, IOF released 15 detainees, but kept the other two in custody: Mohammed Sayed al-Basyouni, 22; and 'Ali Jamal Kharawat, 23. 

  Monday, 22 March 2010 

At approximately 01:30, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at al-Shouka village near Rafah International Crossing Point on the Egyptian border, south of Rafah, allegedly to destroy a tunnel.  The targeted tunnel was set on fire as a result, but no casualties were reported. 

At approximately 10:00, Israeli troops stationed on observation towers at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at a number of Palestinian workers who were collecting bricks from the rubble of destroyed buildings in the industrial zone in the northern Gaza Strip. The workers escaped and no casualties were reported. 

At approximately 20:30, Israeli troops stationed at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian lands near the border. As a result, Suleiman Mahmoud Braim, 34, was wounded by shrapnel to the ear, when he was near his house approximately 500 from the border.

At approximately 23:50, an Israeli warplane fired a missile at an area belonging to Ussama Zimmu in al-Sha'af neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. A number of nearby houses were damaged and 8 Palestinian civilians, including two children and a woman, were lightly injured by glass shards:

1. Khawla Jihad al-Kahlout, 28;
2. Alaa' Sa'ed Kareem, 16;
3. Ruba Sa'ed Kareem, 12;
4. Yasser Na'im Hijazi, 25;
5. 'Abed Anees Marzouq, 62;
6. Akram al-Fayoumi, 21;
7. Nahidh Khalil Abu 'Amsha, 45; and
8. Mohammed Nahidh Abu 'Amsha, 19.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010 

At approximately 09:30, IOF moved approximately 100 meters into the industrial zone to the southwest of Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in the northern Gaza Strip. They leveled areas of land that they had previously razed. 

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

At approximately 07:00, an Israeli infantry unit moved nearly 800 meters into the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli troops chased a number of Palestinian workers who were collecting raw construction materials, and arrested 5 of them, including: Mahmoud Mohammed Ma'rouf, 17; Shadi 'Ammar Ma'rouf, 17; and Mustafa Ghanem, 43.    

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

IOF Surround and Arrest Palestinian Workers Northwest Beit Lahyia


At app. 7am on Wednesday 24 March 2010, Israeli infantry troops moved under heavy fire,  from the northwestern separation fence to the Erez crossing, northwest of Beit Lahyia. The IOF surrounded and arrested five Palestinian workers who were removing rubble from destroyed buildings in northwest Beit Lahyia and took them inside Israel. Al Mezan identified three names of the detainees as follows:
  • Mahmoud Mohammed Mahmoud Maruf,18;
  • Shadi Amar Maruf,18; and
  • Mustafa Ghanim,43.
The five detainees are still in detention until issuing this piece of news.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Soldiers shoot youth gathering wood near the Gaza-Israel border


On the morning of 10 February, Muhammad Subuh, 17, Saleh Abu Leylah, 16, and Maher Ghanem, 21, were in the area of the Israeli settlements that had been evacuated in the northern Gaza Strip, near the border with Israel. They were gathering wood, which they needed for cooking. Gas for cooking is lacking in the area due to the reduction in importation of cooking gas as part of the siege on the Strip.
After the Palestinians had been gathering wood for a while, Israeli soldiers approached them. Muhammad Subuh described what happened then.
Muhammad Subuh, 17The soldiers stopped about 150 meters from us and kneeled into firing position. I rushed to gather the wood. One of the soldiers fired, hitting me in the right hand. Then he fired again and hit me in the chest, on the right side, and then another shot grazed the front of my chest.  I fell to the ground. My two friends who were with me raised their hands and didn’t move.
According to the testimonies given by the three youths, following the shooting, the soldiers gave Subuh first-aid and ordered Ghanem and Abu Leylah to carry him to the border, where the soldiers put him into an army vehicle which then drove away.
Abu Leylah and Ghanem were then taken to a location in Israel, where they were held separately for about two hours, their hands bound and blindfolded the whole time. They were then questioned about their actions near the border. After that, they were driven in separate vehicles to Erez Crossing. Abu Leylah related what happened on the way.
Saleh Abu LeylahThey drove me in a jeep for about half an hour. On the way, the jeep stopped from time to time, and the soldiers took me out, hit me in the neck, and pulled my hair. They accused me of being in Hamas. I told them I wasn’t. A soldier burned my left hand with a cigarette. We got to Erez Crossing. The soldiers took me out of the jeep. They removed the cuffs and blindfold. I saw them remove Maher from another jeep. From there, we returned to Gaza.
Ghanem, too, related what happened on the way to Erez Crossing.

Maher Ghanem, 21Two hours later, they put us into an army jeep, each of us separately. On the way, the jeep stopped a few times. The soldiers opened the back door and swore at me and hit me in the face and neck, and put out cigarettes on my hands. They did this a few times, until we got to Erez Crossing. At the crossing, I joined Saleh again, and we stayed there for about an hour, until they released us.
The two were released at Erez Crossing. Subuh was treated at Barzilai Hospital, in Ashkelon, where he underwent surgery. He was discharged from the hospital four days later and was taken to Erez Crossing, where he was released without having been interrogated.
The testimonies stating that the shooting was not preceded by a warning is consistent with previous reports indicating that the IDF has classified extensive areas adjacent to the perimeter fence “death zones” and that orders permit soldiers to open fire automatically at anybody who enters  the area, regardless of the circumstances. Leaflets distributed by the army in the area explicitly state that anyone who comes within 300 meters of the perimeter fence “endangers his life,” and that the soldiers are authorized to open fire.
A fundamental principle of international humanitarian law is the distinction between combatants and civilians who are not taking part in the hostilities. Attacks intended to harm civilians is absolutely prohibited. When there is question whether persons are civilians or combatants, they must be treated as civilians. Opening fire automatically at every person who enters a certain area, regardless of the person’s identity or the circumstances of his being there, as in the cases described above, is “indiscriminate firing,” which could be considered a war crime.
The case involved three persons, two of them minors, who were gathering wood in daylight and were not endangering anybody. The fact that the army released them a few hours after the incident reinforces the contention that they were not involved in any activity against Israel. Based on the above, the shooting blatantly breached international humanitarian law. If the army’s open-fire regulations allow firing in such a circumstance, the provisions must be nullified immediately.
In a letter to the Judge Advocate General’s Office, B'Tselem demanded an investigation into the shooting of Muhammad Subuh and the violent treatment of Maher Ghanem and Saleh Abu Leylah.

Gaza protesters demand access to lands in no-go zone

Gaza – Ma'an – Hundreds joined the ongoing challenge to the Israeli-enforced no-go zone, limiting access to agricultural lands near the Gaza border, with protesters marching toward the area in the northern Strip on Tuesday.

Participant Sabir Za’anin said the crowd was the largest yet, noting the group decided to once again test the northern no-go zone, policed at 300-500 meters away from the border fence.

According to some estimates, the Israeli no-go zone that envelopes the Gaza Strip occupies some 20 percent of arable land in the coastal enclave.

During the protest, campaign coordinator Mahmoud Az-Zeq said the group marched directly toward the watch-tower at the Erez crossing and were only 80 meters away when warning shots were fired.

Az-Zeq told demonstrators that the Palestinian National struggle "must be activated in all its forms," and praised the non-violent demonstrations in Gaza and the West Bank that challenged the continued Israeli-annexation of Palestinian lands.

The demonstrations, continuing almost daily since the beginning of March, will continue until Palestinians mark Land Day on 30 March.

An Israeli military spokeswoman denied that the protesters were fired on, despite entering the prohibited area.

IOF troops advances in northern Gaza, assist settlers' assault in WB

[ 23/03/2010 - 04:20 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) mounting army vehicles and escorting bulldozers advanced into northern Gaza Strip near the Beit Hanun (Erez) crossing and razed a number of destroyed buildings in the area.
Eyewitnesses said that four huge bulldozers made the job while the IOF soldiers provided the protection in the industrial area.
They noted that the IOF opened intensive gunfire in the process as warplanes hovered over the area and the Strip in general.
IOF troops also assisted Jewish settlers in the Ramallah village of Singil when the settlers blocked the way of Palestinian farmers who were heading to their land on Tuesday.
Witnesses said that the settlers threw stones at the farmers and tried to seize their tractors but the framers repelled them, after which IOF soldiers encircled the village and blocked travel in and out of it in a bid to provide protection for the settlers.

Limited IOF Incursion near Erez Crossing North of Gaza


At app. 9:30am on Tuesday 23 March 2010, ten Israeli tanks and bulldozers moved under sporadic fire about 200 meters inside the industrial area, east of Beit Hanoun, in North Gaza District. Palestinian workers who were there removing the rubble from destroyed buildings left the area and went to the south ward without finishing their work. Israeli bulldozers excavated a deep pit and leveled the destroyed rubble. The IOF are still in the area as this headline is issued. No casualties or injuries were reported.

Monday, March 22, 2010

IOF Attack east Gaza, injure 8


At app. 11:50pm on Monday 22 March 2010, an Israeli jet fired a missile on agricultural land belonging to Usama Zimo. The land is located on the Al Nakhil street in the At-Tufah neighborhood, east Gaza City. As a result, four cement-roofed rooms, built on that land, were destroyed and a water well and pump. Ten adjacent houses were also partially damaged in this attack as well as the Ash-Shija'aia Preparatory School. Eight persons were injured due to the glass from the windows that smashed in the surrounding houses. Al Mezan identified their names as follows:
Khawla Jehad Al Kahlout, 28;
Alaa Sa'ed Karem, 16;
Ruba Sa'ed  Karem, 12;
Yasser Naim Hijazi, 25;
Akram Al Faiomi, 21;
Nahedh Khalil Abu Amsha, 45;
Mohammed Nahedh Abu Amsha, 19; and
Abed Anis Marzouq, 62.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Gaza residents test no-go zone for 2nd day

Gaza – Ma'an – Hundreds of Gazans, joined by international peace activists and Palestinian farmers, on Sunday marched on Israel's 200-meter buffer zone for the second day.

Popular committee coordinator Mahmoud Az-Zeq said hundreds of young Palestinian men placed Palestinian flags along the barbed wire along the no-go zone in the An-Nahda neighborhood east of Rafah.

Az-Zeq appealed to Palestinian factions to participate in the rallies in support of farmers who have been prohibited access to their lands as a result of the closure.

"The popular campaign against the buffer zone will continue with its weekly peaceful activities in each Gaza district. On Land Day [30 March], six rallies will be held at once," the coordinator said.

On Saturday, Palestinians crossed 50 meters into the zone east of As-Salqa in central Gaza, near the Israeli military post at Kisufim.

Nafeth Ghuneim, a Palestine People's Party politburo member, said Israel's withdrawal from Gaza was unrealistic, "the evidence of which is the buffer zone that confiscates thousands of lands on the borders to the east and north, the siege and the closing of all crossings."

"In the West Bank, there are popular campaigns against the wall, while Gazans resist the buffer zone. Palestinians will continue the struggle and their steadfastness, in spite of division, tragedies, and frustrations," Ghuneim told Ma'an.

Friday, March 19, 2010

IOF Open Fire on a Peaceful Assembly in the east of Gaza


At app. midday  on Friday 19 March 2010, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) opened fire on a peaceful assembly for the 'Popular Campaign against the Buffer Zone'. Hundreds of protesters gathered in an area near Nahal Oz, crossing east of the Ash-Shija'aia neighborhood, which is 200 meters away from the eastern separation fence. No casualties or injuries were reported.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

PCHR weekly report 11/3 - 17/3/10: shootings against workers and protesters, incursion and airstrike

extracts from PCHR weekly report 11/3 - 17/3/10

Thursday, 11 March 2010

At approximately 23:45, Israeli war planes dropped a bomb on al-Shouka village near the Egyptian border, southeast of Rafah, allegedly to destroy tunnels.  No casualties or damage were reported.  

Friday, 12 March 2010

At approximately 09:40, IOF moved nearly 200 meters into the east of Jabalya town in the northern Gaza Strip.  They leveled areas of land, which they had already razed.  At approximately 11:10, IOF moved south towards the east of al-Tuffah neighborhood in the east of Gaza City.  IOF redeployed outside these areas in the evening.  No casualties were reported. 

At approximately 11:20, Israeli troops stationed on observation towers at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at a number of Palestinian workers who were collecting bricks and iron bars from the debris of destroyed buildings.  The workers fled and no casualties were reported. 

Tuesday, 16 March 2010 

At approximately 12:05, Israeli troops stationed at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northwest of Beit Lahia town fired into the air to force Palestinian demonstrators who organized a peaceful protest over an Israeli decision to create a 300-meter-wide buffer zone along the border.  No casualties were reported.  


Gaza residents continue testing Israeli no-go zone

In photos: Testing the Gaza `no-go zone` on Wednesday.

MaanImages/Hatem Omar

Palestinians protest near the Nahal Oz crossing east of Gaza City on March 17, 2010. Hundreds of Palestinians joined the demonstration Wednesday to protest tensions in East Jerusalem and a no-go zone Israel has declared along the Gaza Strip border.

Gaza – Ma'an – Israeli forces opened fire on Popular Committee Against the Buffer Zone march as the group continued to test the military's policing of the no-go area on Thursday, organizers said.

No injuries were reported, but one official said shots targeted civilians after warning shots were fired as the group reached the edge of the buffer zone, some 300 meters away from the Israeli border barrier.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers "identified rioters" in "what is considered a prohibited area" and said they were "hurling rocks" at the soldiers. "A single warning shot was fired in the air," she said.

Mahmoud Az-Zaq, the committee coordinator, said hundreds of protesters gathered in the Al-Farraheen neighborhood east of Khan Younis and walked directly toward the buffer area.

Southern Gaza coordinator Saber Az-Z’aneen, said shots targeted some of the protesters after a series of warning shots had been fired into the air.

Az-Z'aneen and Az-Zaq both confirmed the intention of the anti-buffer-zone committee to continue challenging the 300-500-meter no-go zone that de facto government officials say takes up 20% of the arable land in Gaza.

Photos from the weekly demonstration against the "buffer zone"

Source: the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Protesters say Israel fired on Gaza demonstration

Gaza – Ma'an – Israeli forces opened fire during a demonstration in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday afternoon, protesters said.

Abu Al-Walid Az-Zaq, member of the Popular Committee Against the Buffer Zone, said the demonstration was intended to reassert control over an Israeli "no-go area" near Beit Hanoun.

The closure separates farmers and residents from their lands and property, and runs counter to claims that the military evacuated all of Gaza during its 2005 redeployment.

Az-Zaq said the protest began in the Ash-Shujaiyeh neighborhood and ended at the military zone, where shots were fired at participants. The demonstration was themed "Jerusalem and the Land," he said, adding that a similar protest would take place Thursday in Khan Younis.

Approached by Ma'an, an Israeli military spokesman denied that forces opened fire at the protest.

Palestinians and international solidarity activists have increasingly joined the challenge to the no-go zone. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, protesters breached the area near Erez and in Ash-Shujaiyeh.

There were no reports that the military opened fire during last week's demonstrations.

In February, the army said soldiers fired warning shots to disperse a "suspicious gathering."

A few weeks beforehand, Israeli aircraft dropped warning flyers over Gaza reiterating that Palestinians were banned from approaching the zones, which are inside Gaza but along the periphery.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Growing protests in the Gaza Strip against the imposition of the buffer zone

Posted on ISM web page on: March 13, 2010

12 March 2010
Women demonstrate in Gaza.
Women demonstrate in Gaza.
Deep dissatisfaction with the Israeli policy of preventing access to the 300 metre belt along the border have resulted in a rise in number of weekly protests in Gaza and a significant increase in the number of people participating in them. This measure has made 30 percent of the best agricultural land of Gaza Strip off limits. Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas of the world and farm land is already in short supply. Farmers from the border areas have been particularly badly affected by the imposition of the ‘buffer zone’. Intimidation by the Israeli army patrolling the border, including shooting at farmers and bulldozing of the land, has resulted in the formation of a new organisation called Popular Campaign to Oppose the Buffer Zone.
The Popular Campaign has joined forces with the existing protests and in addition they have been organizing their own weekly protests in different areas alongside the border.
On Tuesday 9 March, the protesters form the Local Initiative Beit Hanoun were they were joined by farmers from the Popular Campaign, a large group of local women living in some of the most dangerous border areas and five ISM activists. This was the largest demonstration near the Erez crossing so far, with more than 150 participants. The marchers stopped about 50 meters away from the border wall near the previously erected Palestinian flag. For about an hour the the marchers held speeches and chanted demands for an end of the occupation and lifting of the siege.
Demonstration in Erez, 10 March 2010
Demonstration in Erez, 10 March 2010
On the next day, Wednesday the 10th of March, the Popular Campaign held the first demonstration near the Karni crossing, which was until recently the main entry point for the goods allowed into Gaza. Local residents joined the demonstration together with approximately 200 protesters including the 5 ISMers and stayed one kilometer away from the border. They where confronted by a Israeli army jeep which was later joined by a second jeep and by what looked like a surveillance vehicle. Even though the demonstration was peaceful the soldiers fire several warning shots to keep marchers at bay. Fortunately no one was injured and about an hour after the demonstrators dispersed. Both events have received excellent media coverage and were reported on Aljazeera, PRESS TV and on a local TV channels and well as in the local press.
Updated on March 14, 2010

Free Gaza: farmers rally to protest Israel's buffer zone

Free Palestine on FACEBOOK:

undreds of Palestinians and international solidarity activists joined the weekly challenge to the enforced no-go zone in the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, walking out toward the border wall, which has a 150-700meter 'buffer' patrolled by the Israeli military.

The rally, organized by the popular campaign against the separation fence in Gaza, gathered at the Agricultural College and walked together toward the Erez crossing. Participants chanted slogans opposing the buffer zone, which eats into 15% of the available agricultural land in Gaza, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The march, usually held each week on Mondays, was postponed following International Women's Day.

According to Sabir Zaanin, the campaigns coordinator, the weekly rally is an expression of refusal for Israels decision to create a buffer zone on Gazas borders. The rally also unites Palestinian efforts to focus struggle against occupation, he said.

Senior leader with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Salih Zeidan delivered a speech during the rally, stating the necessity to resist the Israeli occupation. We are rallying here to express refusal of the buffer zone on Gaza boarders, he said.

by http://guerrillaradio.iobloggo.com/

video by Syria Sat 100309 [LinkTV/Mosaic]

Friday, March 12, 2010

Limited IOF Incursion east of the Martyrs Cemetery, north of Gaza

At app. 9:40am on Friday 12 March 2010, six Israeli tanks and bulldozers moved under heavy sporadic fire about 200 meters inside the agricultural area, east of the Martyrs Cemetery,  east of Jabalia in the North Gaza District. Bulldozers leveled lands in the area. Then the IOF moved towards the south and positioned itself at an area east the juice factory, east Gaza City. On the same day, the IOF withdrew from the area. No casualties or injuries were reported.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

PCHR weekly report 4/3 - 10/3/10: more attacks against civilians in northern Gaza

extracts from PCHR weekly report 4/3 - 10/3/10:

 Thursday, 04 March 2010

At approximately 15:20, Israeli troops stationed at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast of Beit Hanoun opened fire at Palestinian houses located approximately 800 meters from the border. The gunfire continued sporadically for 20 minutes. No casualties or damage were reported.  

Friday, 05 March 2010

At approximately 11:00, Israeli troops stationed on observation towers at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at a number of Palestinian civilians who were collecting bricks and iron bars from the debris of buildings of the former Industrial Zone. The civilians fled and no casualties were reported.  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

IOF Continue Firing on Palestinian Workers in North Biet Lahyia


At app. 7:30pm on Wednesday 10 March 2010, Israeli occupation forces, that are usually positioned at the northern separation fence, opened sporadic fire on Palestinian workers who were were 350 meters away from the separation fence removing the rubble of destroyed buildings. No casualties or injured were reported.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Life in the Gazan "Buffer Zone"

Saturday 06 March 2010
by: Pam Rasmussen, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
Saber Az-Za'aneen, coordinator of the Local Initiative Committee in Beit Hanoun, speaks at a protest in Gaza's "buffer zone." (Photos: Pam Rasmussen)
When I wrote last, I was still in Cairo, beginning to lose hope. However, shortly after, a friend at the UN Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA) was miraculously able to get me into Gaza through Israel's Erez Crossing. In a shockingly quick two days, I was in! Among my first activities was this protest....
The Israelis call it the "buffer zone." Gazan NGOs often call it the "hot zone." But to the Palestinians who live near this wide swath of land alongside the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, it is fertile land where their children played and they made a decent living by raising wheat and olives. That is, until Israel declared the land off limits to Palestinians.
The so-called "buffer zone" is a military no-go area that extends along the entire northern and eastern Gazan border with Israel,
as well as its southern border with Egypt (known as the Philadelphi Corridor). The creation of a 50-meter-wide buffer zone was agreed to as part of the security arrangements included in an interim Palestinian-Israeli agreement signed in 1995. Following the start of the second Intifada in September 2000, the area of the buffer zone was increased to 150 meters wide. In May 2009, the Israeli military scattered thousands of leaflets warning residents to maintain a distance of at least 300 meters from the border or risk being fired upon. In reality, however, the buffer zone can extend up to two kilometers (1.2 miles) at its widest point in North Gaza.
As a result, the area once known as the most bountiful in the Gaza Strip in terms of the families it supported or fed has become a no-man's land - a killing field where Palestinians have been targeted for venturing past the invisible, amorphous demarcation line - or sometimes, for simply being too close and rousing the Israelis' suspicions. Since the end of the Israeli military offensive in January 2009, the UN estimates that five civilians have been killed and 20 injured in incidents involving Israeli gun and tank fire in areas near the buffer zone. Three of the fatalities and at least four of the injured were children.
For Saber Az-Za'aneen, a former field worker for a human rights agency and now the full time coordinator of the Local Initiative Committee in Beit Hanoun (in the northern Gaza Strip), it was the deaths of children that drove him to finally fight back.
Saber Az-Za'aneen
He ticks off the incidents that he says finally made him realize that Palestinians had to overcome their fear and fight back. There were four children walking near the agricultural college (the only one in Gaza and now in ruins) ... another three children tending their sheep ... another three playing in the shadow of their home ... a mother and her four children eating breakfast at their kitchen table. (In the latter case, an Israeli drone killed a suspected resistance fighter, then bombed a nearby house for good measure). Last September, a 14-year-old boy was killed while walking with his father.
The Israeli military has said it needs the buffer zone to make it more difficult for resistance fighters to fire rockets and mortars into the Jewish state and set off explosives near the border wall. "What determines our actions are the threats. It's not right to place the blame on Israel; the [Palestinian] farmers should blame the militants and the terror organizations," an Army spokeswoman said.
Once a plush scene of rolling olive, citrus and pomegranate groves, much of the border region (accounting for 30-40 percent of Gaza's arable farmland and a significant number of water wells) is now just a barren landscape. According to a recent Save the Children UK study, up to 70 percent of households living near the buffer zone have been either temporarily or permanently displaced at least once since 2000, primarily as a result of house demolitions and fear for the families' personal safety. In addition, 50 percent of the families have lost their source of income or livelihood during the same period. As a result, 42 percent of those families have changed their residence.
"To protect 45 families in Sderot (the Israeli town closest to the Israel's southern border with Gaza), it has destroyed every aspect of life for 45,000 people here," said Az-Za'aneen. "They have driven us from the land we have farmed for decades, and made our children frightened of something as simple as playing in their back yard."
Only 9 percent of respondents in the Save the Children UK survey said they felt secure in their neighborhood, compared with 55 percent of respondents among the general population in Gaza.
In September 2008, Az-Za'aneen began organizing weekly marches of local farmers and their families into the no-go zone - protests that continued, despite the Israeli Army's use of live ammunition in retaliation, until the 22-day invasion in December 2008-January 2009. Az-Za'aneen launched them once again a month ago. "Our goal is to reinforce the farmers' steadfastness, to give them the courage to keep planting and harvesting their olives despite the Israelis' threats," he said.
Farmers march.
Farmers march in the "buffer zone."
Az-Za'aneen's model was the weekly marches in protest of the Apartheid Wall being built in the West Bank, which have attracted extensive publicity due to the participation of international activists. However, due to the almost complete prohibition of travel in and out of the Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt, international participation in Beit Hanoun is limited to the few volunteers (primarily with the International Solidarity Movement) who manage to enter Gaza with aid convoys. During the most recent protest, the group of about 50 protesters managed to plant a Palestinian flag about 50 meters from the barrier wall near the Erez Crossing into Israel (the closest residents have managed to get in ten years) before shots from the guard tower rang out, forcing them back.
Eva Bartlett asks the Israeli guards not to shoot, explaining that the marchers are unarmed and peaceful
Eva Bartlett asks the Israeli guards not to shoot, explaining that the marchers are unarmed and peaceful.
"It is important for internationals to show both Palestinians and Israel that despite the fact that our governments indirectly support the ongoing blockade, the Palestinians are not alone, " said Eva Bartlett, a Canadian human rights advocate and freelance writer who arrived in Gaza with the third Free Gaza boat in November 2008. "The Israelis continually make and break their own rules, and they must be exposed."
And so it goes ... every week, trying to push a little farther. The Israelis may shoot, but the Palestinian's connection to the land and their history, is stronger.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

IOF Continues Enforcing Security Buffer Zone inside Gaza, Bulldozes Agricultural lands, Destroys Palestinian Houses


The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has increased its attacks on Palestinians near the Gaza Strip's eastern and northern borders with Israel; an area inside Gaza that the IOF has declared as a security 'buffer zone'. Al Mezan's investigations indicate that the IOF always fires at any Palestinians near the eastern and northern borders. The IOF's attacks do not follow a specific pattern. The IOF claims that its soldiers fire at Palestinians only when they are 300 meters from border fence. However, while some attacks have occurred close to the border fence, many other attacks occurred when civilians were more than a kilometer from the borderline.

According to Al Mezan's continuous monitoring, at approximately 6am on Thursday 18 February 2010, Israeli tanks and four armored bulldozers moved under the cover of reconnaissance drones nearly 650 meter inside the Al Msadar village in the Al Maghazi refugee camp. The IOF stationed itself there while the bulldozers leveled about 18 dunoum of agricultural lands and destroyed three rural houses. At approximately 4:30pm on the same day the IOF withdrew from the area.    

According to field investigations conducted by Al Mezan, the IOF destroyed the house of Moaen Ali Salman Abu Said,28. The IOF used loud speakers and ordered the residents of that house to leave the house before destroying it. The Abu Said family did not manage to collect their furniture from  the house. The house is 175 square metre and five persons live there. The IOF also destroyed the house of Salim Salman Awad Ibn Said,67, two-storey and 120 square meter. Eight persons live there, four of them are children. The IOF also leveled 10 dunoms planted with fruitful olive trees. An irrigation network and water well were destroyed as a result. In addition, the IOF destroyed a 80 square meter rural house. The IOF also fired  indiscriminately in that area. Several houses were partially damaged.

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights strongly condemns the continued, systematic attacks by the IOF against the Palestinian civiliansparticularly farmers who work in their fields near the borders. Al Mezan warns of the human rights implications for Palestinian civilians which emanate from Israel's attempts to enforce the security 'buffer zone' inside the Gaza Strip. Al Mezan's monitoring indicates that the IOF attacks linked to the 'buffer zone' occur within an area that extends well beyond one kilometer from Gaza's eastern and northern borders.

Al Mezan asserts that the IOF's conduct in this area flagrantly violates the rules of international humanitarian law and human rights law. They violate the rights to life, liberty and personal integrity. They also violate a wide range of economic and social rights and cause displacement to civilians.

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). The Centre asserts that IOF's continued acts necessitate urgent actions by international community to enforce the mechanisms of accountability against those who violate international law in oPt.