Hmada sent this story on the 1st May. We’re coming to the end of Ramadan and ordinary life carries on. Ordinary life is itself an act of resistance. At the same time in another part of occupied Palestine, in Jerusalem, Israeli tactics differ, as courts and police and mobs put huge pressure on four families of Sheik Jarrah neighbourhood to quit, but large numbers of peaceful protestors resist.
In other news, Islam has admitted exaggerating a claim for the cost of her son’s eye operation and has apologized. So, if warily, I’ve accepted her apology. She needed to clear some debts she said I I believe her. Life is tough for so many.
In April I attended a fascinating webinar with Gaza artist Mahamed Al Hawajiri who showed his paintings and sculptures. They’re brilliant, funny, both political and vibrantly colourful. He’s also successful and ships his works out to Paris art markets! How surreal. It shows something of the potential of this great nation and place if only the Israeli stranglehold was lifted. He’s on facebook and well worth looking up. Ed
Hmada S Abo Rada Farmers on the borders of the Gaza Strip suffer from the continuous incursion of military bulldozers of the Israeli occupation army.
Either they sweep the lands planted with vegetables and simple seasonal plants that they feed their families with and sell in the Palestinian markets, or they shoot and attack farmers, or throw bombs and tear gas or other chemicals harmful to plants and crops.
The most recent encroachment was the massive and deliberate levelling of the lands of the border area, cutting off the livelihood of once-affluent families. Those lands had witnessed many violations in years past and had only been put back into use recently with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross which worked to provide irrigation pipes, greenhouse repairs, composting, and more.
Today anew tragedy has struck. Farmer Ismail Abu Taima , his father and his two brothers woke up to a calamity. Instead of getting up as usual after dawn to take care of their lands and its cultivation, land that is the lifeline for the family, which supports them all, even university studies for some children, they go and pick up the bits and pieces that are left of their land.
Abu Taima said to me “20 dunums of land had been bulldozed less than a month ago before we replanted it again, and today we’re shocked that the occupation army has bulldozed them again! The leaflets dropped by the occupation drones informed us of the bulldozing order stating that “agricultural crops that are less than 100 meters from the security wall will be swept away” . But our family lands are about 150 meters away, meaning that they are not within the remit of the order”
But the occupier does not know the meaning of any treaty, rights or decision, and knows no mercy, so nothing has prevented him from depriving farmers of their livelihood.
What is the security threat that the occupation army fears from those agricultural lands in which only simple seasonal crops are allowed to grow, vegetables that lie on the ground, where it is forbidden to plant trees under the pretext of they might hide terrorists whilst occupation forces’ reconnaissance flights never leave the Gaza Strip’s airspace?
Adham Al-Bassiouni, a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture confirmed that “the border strip alone represents 25% of the national production in that region. It is a large part of the food basket, and also constitutes a large part of the Palestinian economy. The occupier continues his attacks on farmers in the eastern Gaza Strip. These assaults vary between direct attacks on farmers and sometimes flooding the lands with regular and wastewater water, and sometimes by spraying them with pesticides that are harmful to crops”.
Farms in the Gaza Strip border area contains the most fertile types of soil of the whole Strip, its freshest water, and the richest of various agricultural crops, which makes it a constant target for the fires and bulldozers of the Israeli occupation forces that seek to besiege the citizens of the Gaza Strip in every possible way, indifferent that these lands are the livelihood of thousands of ordinary citizens, peaceful people who are just waiting for the harvest of their crops in order to satisfy the hunger of their children and some of their simple and natural needs of clothing, food and education.
Although the Red Cross was the one who helped these farmers to resume their work on their border lands and kept it informed of the Israeli violations of the territory of the Strip and its many appeals to protect farmers, this did not prevent the occupation from continuing to attack farmers and their crops.
Amira Shaath, a specialist in international law, emphasized the strength of the case for the legal status of farmers going about their daily business and the need to take urgent measures against Israeli practices in international courts. International law has guaranteed every human being the right to work in order to provide livelihoods with a decent life and provide supplies.