Saturday, September 12, 2009

Israel targeting fishermen, farmers in Gaza

Eva Bartlett, The Electronic Intifada, 11 September 2009

(Eva Bartlett is a Canadian human rights advocate and freelancer who arrived in Gaza in November 2008 on the third Free Gaza Movement boat. She has been volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement and documenting Israel's ongoing attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. During Israel's recent assault on Gaza, she and other ISM volunteers accompanied ambulances and documenting the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip. )

"......According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, roughly one third of Gaza's agricultural land lies within the Israel's unilaterally-imposed "no go zone," or "buffer zone." This band of land stretching south to north along Gaza's borders to Israel was established in late 2000 during the second Palestinian intifada. Initially set at 150 meters, it has varied over time. At one point, it was nearly two kilometers in the north and one kilometer in the east. At present, Israeli authorities say 300 meters along the border are "off limits" and those found within the area risk being shot at by Israeli soldiers.

However, one case demonstrates that Israeli soldiers will shoot at Palestinian civilians as far away from the border as 1,800 meters. Sixty-three-year-old Fawzi Ali Qassem was on his land east of Beit Hanoun, at least 1,800 meters away from the border, when Israeli soldiers opened fire on farmers. Ali Qassem was hit in his left thigh on 23 August 2009.

Under a brutal 27-month-long siege, the Israeli military is killing fishermen, farmers and other civilians in areas it is deliberately trying to depopulate. This represents yet another component in Israel's matrix of control over the lives of Palestinians in Gaza. In the face of such blatant Israeli military terrorizing, Palestinians remain defiantly resilient, farming, fishing and living under fire."

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