While the rest of the world sends expressions of love on Valentine’s Day, Israel sends the kiss of death to Gaza. A man now lies clinging to life in Kamal Adwan hospital after being shot in the stomach by Israeli soldiers east of Jabaliya on Friday, while another five also receive treatment for bullet wounds.
A seventh is nursing injuries from tear-gas canisters.
An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed to Ma’an News that Israeli soldiers fired live bullets towards the legs of the young men. Tear-gas and ‘anti-riot’ methods were also used, she said.
Palestinian youth have been gathering on Palestinian land east of Jabaliya in northern Gaza every Friday for the last two months, to assert their rightful possession of it. Resentful of the crippling Israeli blockade that restricts their movement outside of the Gaza Strip, the young men manifest their legal right to assemble on their own land in their own territory, and to move freely within it.
Israeli soldiers on the border refuse to recognise this right, and frequently open fire on them, causing injury and death. On Thursday Ibrahim Suleiman Mansour, 26, was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces while he was collecting gravel to sell, his only means of livelihood.
In July 2013 the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that prior to the November 2012 cease-fire agreement, 35% of Gaza’s agricultural land was within the Israeli-declared “security buffer zone,” resulting in losses to Palestinian farmers in Gaza of USD 50.2 million, per year.
The “security buffer zone” extends between 500 meters and 1500 meters into the Gaza Strip, effectively turning Palestinian farms into rifle-ranges for Israeli live-target practice.
For some unfathomable reason, there has been no international condemnation of the Israeli practice of enforcing a buffer zone on the OTHER side of its border.
The question that must be asked is, if Israel feels the need for a “security buffer zone” of 500 – 1500 meters, why don’t they withdraw that distance on their OWN side of the border? Or better still, to that distance behind the internationally-recognised borders of 1967?
Until and unless they do, it will not be the red of the roses of love that brightens the Gazan landscape every February 14, but the red of Palestinian blood as the life of its young is lost to Israeli land-grabs and guns.
28 November 2012
Today I went with Ministry of Agriculture reserachers, international activists and international journalists to the Gaza Buffer Zone at Juhrardeek to accompany a farmer to his fields.
AhmadHassan Badawi’s farm was attacked durin g the recent Israeli offensive, and his poultry farm destryed by shells from israeli tanks, which killed his 3,200 chickens. He is left only with his field crops, and some olive tress and flowers.
Of his 50 dunnums of land (1 dunnum = 1,000 sq m) Ahmad is only able to access 30, due to Israel declaring the rest of his land part of the buffer zone, and shooting him and his family if they try to farm it.
The slide show displays the quite large group of foreigners accompanying the researchers and farmers towards the fence, and the Israei response – this, after a caesefire agreement in which farmers are supposedly guaranteed access to their lands.
One of Ahmad’s sons has already been shot in the leg – they told us that the only difference our presence makes is that Israel uses warning shots when foreigners are present, otherwise it shoots straight at them.