Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gaza: 29 years later, Palestinians march forward

22 September 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza

For three years the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative and the International Solidarity Movement have marched into the buffer zone north of Beit Hanoun.  Tuesday, September 20th was no different.  We gathered near the agricultural college, and at 11 AM we marched north into the buffer zone.  There were about thirty of us.  The sun was hot, but spirits were high.  Over the megaphone we played Bella Ciao and chanted for a free Palestine.
As we crested the hill nearest the buffer zone we were greeted with a new sight.  The tower in the wall closest to where we protest had been covered with netting used to hide snipers.  We could see the dust of tanks rising from behind the wall.  This did not deter us.  We marched into the buffer zone.  We were propelled both by the horrors of the past and hope for the future.  Twenty nine years ago the world was just learning of the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla.  Thousands of Palestinian refugees were slaughtered in these two camps by Lebanese Phalangists with the support of their Israeli allies.  This massacre will not be forgotten.  Today though, was also a day of hope.  The Palestinian Authority was going to the UN to seek recognition of the Palestinian State.  Hopefully this new initiative will help to bring 44 years of occupation and 63 years of Nakba to an end.
We advanced to about 50 meters from the wall.  We stood along the ditch which scars the buffer zone.  Sabur Zaaneen from the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative spoke of his hope for the future, that the Palestinian people would finally know the justice that has so long been denied to them.  He vowed that “we will continue the peaceful popular struggle until the occupation ends.”
As we chanted against the occupation a window on the tower began to open so that the soldiers could shoot at us.  We marched back through the buffer zone and into Beit Hanoun.  Hopefully, somewhere, someone, heard us, heard our calls for justice, freedom and peace.

Updated on September 22, 2011

PCHR weekly report 15/9 - 21/9/2011: 1 child died of previous wounds by israeli airstrike, 1 incursion

extracts from PCHR weekly report 15/9 - 21/9/2011:

 In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted one incursion on 20 September 2011 into the northern Gaza Strip. 

Monday, 19 September 2011

At approximately 15:30, Ibrahim ‘Adnan ‘Abed Rabbu al-Zaza, 14, from al-Tuffah neighborhood in the east of Gaza City, died of a wound he had sustained on 19 August 2011. According to PCHR’s documentation, at approximately 17:30 on Friday, 19 August 2011, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a number of activists of the Palestinian resistance near al-Wafaa’ Hospital in the east of Gaza City. As a result, two children were seriously wounded: Ibrahim ‘Adnan ‘Abed Rabbu al-Zaza, 14; and Mohammed ‘Aatef ‘Abed Rabbu al-Zaza, 15. Ibrahim had received medical treatment in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City for one week before he was transferred to an Israeli hospital, where he received medical treatment until his death. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

At approximately 08:00, IOF moved nearly 150 meters into Bourat Abu Samra area in the north of Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip opening fire indiscriminately. No casualties were reported. They moved back to the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel at 13:00.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

IOF Opens Fire at Palestinian Farmers North of Beit Hanoun


At approximately 4:45 pm on Wednesday 21 September 2011, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) opened fire at Palestinian farmers who were in their fields in the vicinity of the Erez crossing, near the separation fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel in the north of Beit Hanoun. No casualties or injuries were reported, but the farmers were frightened and abandoned their fields.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Palestinian child succumbs to wounds sustained in Israeli shelling

[ 20/09/2011 - 08:09 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- A Palestinian child was pronounced dead on Monday night in hospital after suffering serious injuries a month ago in an Israeli shelling of a group of children east of Gaza.
Medical sources said that Ibrahim Adnan Al-Zaza, 14, was wounded along with his cousin Mohammed, 15, in the vicinity of Wafa’a hospital in Gaza city.
Human rights groups recalled that both children were hit with shrapnel wounds all over their bodies.
They were admitted into ICU in Gaza’s Shifa hospital but later transferred to a hospital in 1948 occupied Palestine where Ibrahim was proclaimed dead.

IOF troops raid eastern Gaza

[ 20/09/2011 - 08:03 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) advanced 300 meters into eastern Gaza on Monday night after claiming that a locally made rocket was fired from Gaza at the western Negev.
Local sources told the PIC reporter that the IOF unit included army tanks and escorted two huge bulldozers that leveled land amidst intermittent firing at nearby areas.
The Hebrew radio said that the rocket blasted in an open area and did not cause any human or material losses.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Protests in Northern Gaza

15 September 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza 

The Palmer Report, recently released by the United Nations, was a moral travesty. It asserted that the naval blockade of Gaza was somehow separate from the land siege of Gaza.  The Palmer Report was an attempt to break up the oppression of Gaza into bite size morsels so that it could be consumed without causing one to choke on the injustice of the occupation, of the siege.
Last week, we planted a Palestinian flag in the buffer zone, it stands alone, everything else has been destroyed by Israel.  We did not leave it alone; we painted another flag on a large piece of rubble.  We moved the flag even farther into the buffer zone, about 30 meters from the wall encircles Gaza.
On Tuesday, September 13, the Local Initiative of Beit Hanoun, fisherman from Beit Lahia, and activists from the International Solidarity Movement gave their response to the Palmer Report.  They gathered on the beach near Beit Lahia and marched north, into the buffer zone, land that has been stolen from the people of Gaza and depleted of any fecundity.  Across from the buffer zone is the land of the refugees in Gaza from which they were ethnically cleansed 63 years ago.
The buffer zone doesn’t stop on the land, as the Palmer Report may suggest, yet it extends onto the sea.   Israel’s disregard for Oslos allotment of 20 miles of sea access to Palestinians has been defamed to a restricted area of three miles off the shore for fisherman to access.
The buffer zone has extended beyond the last grain of Gaza’s beach and continues into the waters under the misnomer of “buffer zone.” Scrap collectors shot to death, farmers murdered, families left without land to support themselves, it is a death zone.  After the balloons popped, the flags survived, just as the Palestinian people have survived all of the Israeli violence directed at them.
We gathered at Waha, a hotel complex destroyed by Israeli bombs, at 8 AM and marched north along the beach, towards the wall that marks the northern boundary of the open air prison that is referred to as Gaza.  We looked out over the sea that marks the western wall of the prison that is Gaza–the sea where earlier this week the Israeli Navy kidnapped eight fishermen, and then destroyed their boats with gunfire.
At 10:30 we gathered in Beit Hanoun to march north into the same buffer zone.  For three years the people of Beit Hanoun have demonstrated weekly against the occupation and against the buffer zone.  Participants marched north chanting and playing music over the megaphone into the buffer zone. They carried Palestinian flags attached to balloons.  As the balloons floated over the buffer zone trailing their flags, they occasionally fell to earth and popped on the thorn bushes which are the only thing to survive the regular Israeli bulldozing of the buffer zone.
Sabur Zaaneen, from the Local Initiative spoke on the need for a Palestinian state, he urged Palestinian leaders to continue the struggle this September, he urged them not to forget their duty to their people, not to forget the right of the refugees to return, the right of their people to justice.  The farmers of Beit Hanoun stand with the fisherman of Beit Lahia, with the people of Bil’in, with the people of Nil’in, we all carry the flag of popular resistance to the occupation.  None of us will give up.  We will be back next week, together, united in one cause, ending the occupation and justice for the Palestinian people.

Updated on September 22, 2011

PCHR weekly report 8/9 - 14/9/2011: 3 children arrested, later released. House damaged.

 extracts from PCHR weekly report 8/9 - 14/9/2011:

IOF arrested and interrogated 3 Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip, but released them later.

Thursday, 08 September 2011 

At approximately 20:30, IOF positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of Khan Yunis opened fire at al-Qarara village, northeast of Khan Yunis. No casualties were reported. 

Saturday, 10 September 2011

At approximately 16:00, IOF positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of Khan Yunis opened fire at ‘Abassan village, east of Khan Yunis. No casualties were reported. 

At approximately 19:30, IOF positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of Khan Yunis opened fire at 3 Palestinian children who infiltrated through the border. Israeli soldiers ordered the children to stop with their hands up and arrested them. The children were interrogated and they said that they infiltrated through the border to search for jobs in Israel. They were released on the following day morning:

1- Mohammed Nabeel Abu Halib, 17;
2- Mousa Ghazi Abu Lihya, 17; and
3- Ahmed Younis Abu Lihya, 14. 

Sunday, 11 September 2011

At approximately 21:25, IOF positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel fired two artillery shells at a space area to the north of the Bedouin village in the northern Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported. 

Monday, 12 September 2011

At approximately 07:45, IOF positioned at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel to the east of Juhor al-Din village in the central Gaza Strip opened fire at the east of the village. A number of bullets hit a house belonging to Jaber Abu Sa’id, in which 14 individuals live, but no casualties were reported.


Monday, September 12, 2011

IOF Opens Fire at Security Buffer Zone East of Wadi Gaza Village


At approximately 7:50 am on Monday 12 September 2011, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) opened fire at the security buffer zone in the east of Wadi Gaza village. A house belonging to the Abu Isa’yeed family was hit by several bullets. No casualties or injuries were reported, but people were terrified.

IOF soldiers open fire at Palestinian houses in central Gaza

[ 12/09/2011 - 09:19 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stationed to the east of the Gaza Strip opened machine gunfire at Palestinian homes in Juhr Al-Dik in central Gaza on Monday morning with no casualties reported, eyewitnesses said.
They said that the soldiers suddenly opened fire for ten minutes at the citizens' homes and nearby land lots.
The machinegun fire damaged one of the houses that is 320 meters away from the border fence, the witnesses noted, adding that the house was riddled with bullets.
A number of inhabitants and farmers evacuated the targeted areas fearing for their lives.
Meanwhile, in the West Bank IOF soldiers stormed a village to the east of Bethlehem and handed a summons to one of its inhabitants after searching his home.

IOF troops shell northern Gaza Strip

[ 12/09/2011 - 08:46 AM ]

BEIT LAHIA, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired tank shells at an area north of Beit Lahia to the north of Gaza Strip at dawn Monday in a new military escalation causing damage to cultivated land lots but no casualties.
Local sources told the PIC reporter that IOF tanks fired a number of shells at the open agricultural area, adding that the sound of explosion spread panic among the inhabitants.
A Palestinian security source had warned of Israeli military escalation against Gaza to foil any possible visit for Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the coastal enclave in the few coming days.
He said that Israeli intelligence apparatuses were busy studying means of blocking Erdogan's visit to Gaza.

Medics: Israeli forces shell car in southern Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Saturday fired an artillery shell at a civilian car in southern Gaza causing no injuries, medics said.

Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said the car was shelled east of Khan Younis.

Locals reported hearing a huge explosion near the border in the area.

An Israeli military spokesman said he was not immediately aware of any shelling in the area but said he would look into it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Israeli special force abducts five men south of Gaza

[ 11/09/2011 - 12:06 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- An Israeli military force abducted Saturday night five young Palestinian men east of the Israeli kibbutz  Kissufim, adjacent to the southern Gaza Strip, security sources and witnesses said in identical reports.
Israeli jeeps accompanied by reconnaissance aircraft and Apache helicopters briefly entered east of Qarara in the Gaza Strip and swiftly abducted the men, covering themselves by firing heavy ammunition at Palestinians and their property, the sources said.
Later on Sunday morning, three of the abductees were set free by the Israeli security forces after being severely assaulted, security sources said.
The whereabouts of the other two abductees as well as the motives behind the operation remain a mystery.

Israeli forces briefly detain 3 boys in central Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Sunday released three Palestinian boys who were detained overnight near a military base in the central Gaza Strip, a Ma'an correspondent reported.

The boys, aged between 11 and 15, were detained near Kissufim army base south of Deir al-Balah.

Witnesses said at least eight army jeeps entered Gaza near Al-Qarara village and opened fire from military towers before detaining the boys.

The detainees were interrogated for several hours and then released, a Ma'an reporter said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said soldiers apprehended three Palestinians who were trying to cross the security fence into Israel.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

IOF troops bombard Gaza suburb, fishing boats

[ 10/09/2011 - 12:05 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired a number of artillery shells at agricultural land in Shujaia suburb east of Gaza city at an early hour on Friday, local sources said.
They added that no casualties were reported, adding that IOF gunboats also fired at Palestinian fishing boats off the Gaza coast with no injuries reported.
IOF military had shelled Qarara area east of Khan Younis late on Thursday night while warplanes launched mock raids all over the Strip.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Palestinians farming creatively to overcome the ‘buffer zone’

21 August 2011 | Islam Online, Hama Waqum

On Nakba Day in May, thousands of Palestinians edged towards Israel’s borders with Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Gaza, demanding their Right of Return, and an end to the Israeli occupation. Many of these protestors would return to demonstrate on the Naksa Day in June.
A major demand put forth by the Gazan demonstrators was the elimination of the ‘buffer zone’, which forbids Palestinians from stepping within three hundred meters of the cement wall that separates Gaza from the outside world.

Farming beyond the Buffer Zone

Gaza’s farmers face dangers in tending to their land, even if it lies beyond the ‘buffer zone’. For this reason, Palestinians and internationals arrange and attend mass farming events where they harvest and plant en masse.
In June, around 200 Palestinian men and women gathered in a small farm outside of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza. Scrambling through a wheat field to a freshly-ploughed meadow, volunteers from all backgrounds assembled to help the owner of the farm to sow tomato and aubergine plants in the fields closest to the ‘buffer zone’. The three hundred meters of farmland adjacent to the wall is left unfarmed year-round. Those taking a break from crouching in the soil would stand up only to see an Israeli observation balloon, suspended above the horizon beyond the Israeli barrier.
Wisam, a student from Gaza City volunteered, along with several grandfathers, niqabi mothers and international activists. “We came here because we must stand in solidarity with the farmers who are trying to work their land” she explained.
With many hands at work, the land is freshly graced with green saplings in less than two hours and planting time is reduced, which lowers the risks posed to farmers who would otherwise spend days in front of the military outposts planting the saplings.

Farming at gun point

Father-of-six, Jabr Abu Jala lives in the ‘high-risk’ or ‘danger’ zone, meters away from the border in Faraheen, near Khan Younis in southern Gaza. It is farms such as Abu Jala’s that request assistance, so that planting and harvesting can be carried out as quickly as possible, with no intimidation from the nearby military outposts. “We face attacks and shooting almost daily.” Abu Jala explained, “Some days it’s calm, some days it’s not, but, regardless, we are forbidden from tending to a large section of our farmland- and this is a direct result of the occupation.
“They say that the buffer zone is 300 meters, so why do people end up getting shot at when they are 800 meters away from the barrier?”
Nathan Stuckey is an American activist, who had been helping to harvest Abu Jala’s wheat yield and occasionally staying with the family on their farm.
“Last night I was lying in bed, (it was) at about 5:00am and we started hearing a lot of shooting from the north and east sides of Faraheen. It was coming from the towers or Jeeps close to the farmland, right on the border” he said explaining a frequent occurrence.  In the village Khozaa, it’s too dangerous for men to come to the field; the Israelis are less likely to shoot women, so that’s why the women do the farm work” he added.

Women till the soil

Despite the conservative nature of Gazan society—which is particularly apparent in smaller farming villages—it is equally acceptable for men and women to tend to land.
Halima is a Gazan mother who tends to a farm at Faraheen, “Many women farm here, we love to work. I’m the only woman here today, because I come to watch over my sons who are harvesting. I worry about their safety. If internationals weren’t here to harvest with us, we’d have to stop at 8 or 9am. If we farm in the evening, we die!” she said, laughing.
Sarah is a student of biology at Al Aqsa University who joined the 200 Palestinians in the planting of saplings in northern Gaza.
“I came here to help the farmers sow their seeds,” she explained, “It is important for women to help in this aspect. As women, we don’t face any trouble coming here to work alongside the men, you can see for yourself that it’s normal; nobody minds.”
20-year old Anwar took part in the Beit Hanoun demonstrations on the ‘Naksa’—or setback—day, near the Erez crossing. “We are here to protest against the occupation in the West Bank and Gaza and in memory of our heritage. We have come here with saaj (traditional bread), Palestinian coffee and dress, and dabka dancers to protest. This is a cultural demonstration.”
Palestinians in Gaza have become creative in their defiance of the ‘buffer zone’, from holding cultural parties to commemorate the Naksa, to flying kites over the forbidden land with messages to Israeli citizens. But, what is most pressing is their desire to be able to farm on their own land without being harassed by Israeli outposts. When large groups are able to mobilize and harvest a field in a couple of hours, this becomes much easier. Sadly, not all farms have access to a network of support and volunteers such as this.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

PCHR report 25/8 - 7/9/2011:

extracts from PCHR report 25/8 - 7/9/2011:

Thursday, 25 August 2011

At approximately 00:05, Israeli warplanes launched a missile on al-Salama Sports Club near Beit Lahia project's market in the northern Gaza Strip. The attack resulted in the full destruction of the 3-storey building; the first floor includes a gym, the second floor includes the administration offices and a multi-use hall, while the third one includes a football and volleyball field established on a 1,000-square-meter area. Additionally, two Palestinian civilians were killed due to the attack, as they were in the garden of an adjacent house belonging to Abdul Rahman Mohammed al-Masri in the northwestern side of the club. The victims are: Salama Abdul Rahman al-Masri, 18, the son of the house's owner, who died immediately; and Alaa 'Adnan Mohammed al-Jakhbeer, 22, from Jabalya, who was accompanying al-Masri. Al-Jakhbeer suffered from a hemorrhage in the pelvis because of shrapnel and was transferred to the hospital, but he died two hours later. Additionally, 25 Palestinian civilians, including 11 children and 7 women, sustained wounds and bruises due to the falling of smashed glass and stones at them.  Moreover, extensive damages were caused to al-Huda Children Complex in Beit Lahia to the north of the club.  The Complex established on an area of 1600 square meters consists of a kindergarten and a primary school.  Dozens of houses surrounding the Club, 3 stores and 3 vehicles were damaged.

Monday, 29August 2011

At approximately 09:00, Palestinian medical sources declared that Haitham Ahmed Mustafa Ma’rouf, 13, from al-Amal neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, died of a wound he had sustained on 21 August 2011. According to PCHR’s documentation, at approximately 10:50 on Sunday, 21 August 2011, an Israeli drone attacked a number of Palestinian resistance activists after they had launched a home-made rockets into Israeli towns near al-Shaimaa’ School in the north of Beit Lahia. As a result, the child, who was working on his father’s land in the area, was seriously wounded by shrapnel throughout the body. He was evacuated to Kamal ‘Edwan Hospital in Beit Lahia, and from there he was transferred to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where he was admitted into the ICU. At approximately 20:30 on Wednesday, 24 August 2011, he was transferred to an Israeli hospital where he underwent several surgeries. Nevertheless, he died of his wound at approximately 09:00 on Monday, 29 August 2011. His body was transferred to the Gaza Strip at approximately 17:00 on the same day. 

Tuesday, 06 September 2011

At approximately 16:00, IOF moved nearly 300 meters into al-Zanna area in Bani Suhaila and ‘Abassan village, east of Khan Yunis. They searched the area, while helicopters were hovering over it. At approximately 18:30, an Israeli drone fired a missile at a number of Palestinian resistance activists in Mazen Market area, who attempted to confront IOF. As a result, one of the activists, Khaled Ussama Ibrahim Abu Sahmoud, 21, from Bani Suhaila, was instantly killed by shrapnel throughout the body. Additionally, 3 civilian bystanders (an old man and his two children) were wounded:

1- As’ad ‘Abdul Karim al-Shami, 65, wounded by shrapnel to the back and the abdomen;
2- ‘Omat As’ad al-Shami, 10, wounded by shrapnel to the right arm; and
3- Ahmed As’ad al-Shami, 9, wounded by shrapnel to the face.

IOF withdrew from the area at approximately 19:30. 

Today we planted in Gaza’s buffer zone

6  September 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza Strip

Today, like every Tuesday in Beit Hanoun, we marched into the buffer zone to protest it and the illegal Israeli occupation.  In many ways it was the same as every Tuesday.  We gathered at the Agricultural College, we marched down the road that leads to the buffer zone, we sang, and we chanted.
What was different this week?
The demonstration was bigger than it has been in a long time, Ramadan is over, and the people are newly energized.  Also people were more afraid than they had been in a long time.  Israel has just finished its latest round of heavy violence on Gaza.  We were worried that Israel would fire on us, we are always afraid of this.
Israel often shoots at us when we go to the buffer zone, and  this week we marched with the recent attacks fresh on our minds as we stopped fifty meters from reaching the wall.
Something else was different though.

When we reached the buffer zone it was newly plowed.  If you didn’t know better you might have thought that the buffer zone, the zone of death, had disappeared and that farmers had been to their land and readied it for planting.
This wasn’t true though.  The buffer zone is still there. The land had been bulldozed by Israel, not to prepare it for planting but instead to make sure that nothing lives in the buffer zone.  Neither plants nor people indigenous to the land were allowed to grow here.
We went to the buffer zone to bring life to it, so that people will not forget that their land and history is still living.  We went to the buffer zone to remind the world that this strip of death is not natural, the land now called the buffer zone used to be a thriving place of agriculture, people lived there, children played there.
The land was newly bulldozed, but sadly we did not have olive trees with us to plant upon the land, so we planted what we had, a Palestinian flag.

Updated on September 8, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

13-year-old Gaza boy dies eight days after Israeli airstrike

1 September 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza

After clinging to life for eight days, 13-year-old Haitham Ahmed Marouf succumbed to injuries received in an Israeli airstrike on Beit Lahia and died on the morning of Monday, August 29.
The Palestinian boy had been farming with his father, Ahmed Marouf, on Sunday, August 21. Shortly after 11:00 am, a missile fired by an Israeli drone struck the field next to him.
The explosion shredded the left side of Haitham’s body, filling it with shrapnel from his shoulder to his thigh. His left leg was completely destroyed, while his right femur was broken.
His abdomen was so deeply wounded that his uncle Mohammed Marouf, a staff nurse at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, recalled, “I could have put my hand inside it.”
After he received initial treatment at al-Shifa Hospital, Haitham’s family secured permission from the Israeli government to transfer him to a hospital under its control. He was transported through the Erez Crossing on Wednesday, August 24.
Despite the advanced treatment he received in an Israeli Intensive Care Unit, including the surgical extraction of shrapnel and cleaning of his wounds, Haitham died at 10:00 am on August 29.
When he met with the International Solidarity Movement on Wednesday, August 31, Ahmed Marouf was too shaken by the death of his son to comment.