Farming Fear in Khan Yunis

February 27, 2009

From the International Solidarity Movement Gaza, via Indymedia.

Following on from their assault on the people of Gaza in January, which killed 1,300 people (431 of them children), Israel is continuing its repression of Palestinian rights.

During the conflict in January, which resulted in the destruction of between 35 and 60 percent of Gaza’s agricultural industry, Israel targeted farmlands and greenhous. Key industries were decimated, such as Gaza’s cut flowers industry, with farmers missing out on the Valentine’s Day market. Meanwhile, the attacks accentuated an already dire food crisis in the Strip.

The attack on, and ongoing appropriation of, Palestine’s ecology is not the least of Israel’s war crimes. But the blitzkrieg attacks in January obscure a continual struggle being waged by Palestinian farmers to occupy, maintain and use their lands. Assisting farmers as they go about their everyday business is therefore a key role of the International Solidarity Movement, whose volunteers take enormous risks in protecting even the most modest of Palestinian economic tasks.

This video, shot around Khan Yunis in the centre of the Strip, shows activists and farmers being attacked – absolutely unprovoked of course – by Israeli armored vehicles.

As Eva Bartlett of the ISM puts it, “We were accompanying farmers to gather peas from their lands. The farmers, for the most part, were elderly men and women with their sons. There were many farmers spread out over a large area. We were only in the fields for about five minutes before the Israeli forces began firing. I believe the firing was coming from four army jeeps and a hummer. The shots were coming very close, and were sniper-type of shots.”

Four Palestinian farmers have been shot in such circumstances since January 27 2009, all for transgressing an invisible Israeli-devised security zone stretching up to 700 metres from the “green line.”


2 Responses to “Farming Fear in Khan Yunis”

  1. Watson Says:

    We shouldn’t take sides on the basis of Israel or Fatah or Hamas or any combination of these. Rather we should take sides with the people being bullied and threatened regardless of where they live. On this basis we should sympathise as much with people in Israel being attacked by Hamas rockets as the Gaza farmers being shot by the IDF. People make big careers out of fanaticism. Many politicians in the Middle East succeed by feeding people the line that their problems are simply and solely caused by some other group of people.

  2. szamko Says:

    “On this basis we should sympathise as much with people in Israel being attacked by Hamas rockets as the Gaza farmers being shot by the IDF.”

    Well, I would agree that killing someone with a rocket is a crime, but the fact that Israel killed about 1,300 more people with its rockets, white phosphorus etc.. does mean that we have to concentrate most of our time and effort dealing with Palestinian victims of violence.

    Remember too, that Hamas’ position is not derived solely from demonising Israel. It rose to prominence as a social movement providing services to those in dire need, and not receiving them from other sources.

    It stuck to a policy of opposing Israel, while Fatah lost credibility by signing onto peace agreements (e.g. Oslo) that Israel has never shown any sign of complying with. Hamas gained a lot of support, of whatever depth, by opposing specific Israeli policies, when Fatah did not.

    Both of those things are more important than Hamas demonising Israel per se, and go a long way towards explaining why Palestinians want Hamas to be their Parliamentary governors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: