Friday, October 24, 2008

Israeli forces shoot at farmers ‘buffer zone’ in Gaza

Posted on the ISM webpage on: October 24, 2008

This is a compilation report of various times ISM Gaza Strip volunteers have spent with farmers in Al-Faraheen Abasan Al-Kabeera, near Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Palestine

There is a “Buffer Zone”, declared by the Israeli occupation force army, along the entire eastern “border” of the Gaza Strip. Entire farms within 300 to 500 meters distance inside this “Buffer Zone” have been destroyed by Israeli occupation force soldiers in the past few years, since 2005. On 27th and 28th April and 1st May 2008 the Israeli occupation force soldiers invaded Al-Faraheen Abasan Al-Kabeera and bulldozed many farms and demolished some houses. During these incursions all the trees, crops, irrigation pipes, and hot houses were bulldozed into the ground. Rich agricultural farm land turned into desert. Olive trees decades old, citrus trees, date trees and many crops of tomatoes, eggplant, chili peppers, green peppers, okra, carrots, lettuce, etc, providing livelihood and food for the families of the Gaza Strip gone. In addition, chicken farms and herds of sheep and other animals were killed by the soldiers too. The destruction of these farms has made many families totally dependent on food aid and has turned the farmers penniless. Most if not all of the farmers cannot access their land and they can’t graze their herds, but must feed them grains, which is not suitable food source for animals that should be grazing. The farmers will be shot at if not shot and killed if they attempt to just go to their land.

Some ISM volunteers have spent time with one family living in Al-Faraheen Abasan Al-Kabeera. They usually arrive during the day to establish an international presence and stay the night too. They are there as witnesses to the human rights violations by the Israeli occupation force soldiers. During these times other farmers have approached the volunteers to inform them of their losses inflicted upon them by the various invasions of the Israeli soldiers.

On Friday 24th October, at 9:00am, in the Al-Faraheen Abasan Al-Kabeera area at Israeli occupation force soldiers shot at one woman and two men who were working on their farm outside of the “Buffer Zone”, they were more than 300 meters from the border fence. Then at 10:00am a farmer was working his land in the “Buffer Zone”. One jeep drove to the fence marking the “border” that Israel established, a soldier got out and fired two shots, then another five shots. The farmer left the field and the work he was doing and went back to his house. He waited twenty minutes and then came out of his house to return to work his land. This time the soldier in the one jeep fired many shots. The farmer stopped working his land for the day and went back home. Later on, another jeep drove to the fence northeast of the previous location, and fired lots of shots, maybe 50. Why would soldiers shoot into an agricultural field while farmers work their land? Why would soldiers shoot 50 shots into an agricultural field
while nobody is there?