Tuesday, May 19, 2009
By Erin Cunningham
"KHUZA'A, Gaza, May 18 (IPS) - Khuza'a is a small farming village perched on a gentle slope east of Khan Younis. Its fertile farmland once produced fruit and vegetables for export to Israel, whose own lush plains are just 500 metres from Khuza'a's centre, and are visible through the town's narrow streets.
But the relative quiet of this rural border town, about 25 kilometres southeast of Gaza City, was shattered Jan. 10 when Israeli forces launched an all-out, three-day assault that killed 16 civilians and destroyed many of Khuza'a's houses and its agricultural land.....
Because Khuza'a, like the rest of Gaza, has received no funding to rebuild, Yusuf Al-Najjar is using his own money to persuade residents to return to the village and reclaim their land.
Jaber Khalil Ghadeyah, a farmer who has peach and apple groves stretching all the way to the Israeli border, is the only one who has accepted the offer so far - and Yusuf is paying for his new irrigation system.
Ghadeyah says he certain Khuza'a will see another war, but that he will never leave the land he has lived on for 30 years. "If the Israelis come and destroy our village, we will rebuild," says Yusuf. "And if they come again, we will rebuild again.""