Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian farmers

Mark mark at
Thu Feb 26 17:17:35 GMT 2009

Sent out by: orange jenny <ojonamission at>
Subject: Report from 24th Feb with new video link
Date: Thursday, 26 February, 2009

Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian farmers and internationals in Khoza’a
Tuesday 24th February, 2009
ISM Media Office

Video by ISM Gaza Strip:

Palestinian farmers, accompanied by international Human Rights Workers
(HRWs), were fired upon by Israeli forces in the village of Khoza’a , near
Khan Younis, this morning. The farmers and HRWs were attempting to work on
land around 300m from the ‘Green Line’.

"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.

One old woman was so paralyzed by fear that she couldn’t move off of the
ground before we were finally able to accompany her out of the fields.
While the majority of the farmers left the area, some say they must return
to work the land later on in the day. There is great concern that the
Israeli army will continue their targeting of these farmers." - Eva
Bartlett ( Canada ) - International Solidarity Movement

"I have two children. I must go back to my fields to work there today.
This is our life, what can we do?" - Mohammad Abu Jela, Farmer from

Four Palestinian farmers have been shot by Israeli forces while working
within 700m of the ‘Green Line’ since the 27th January 2009. On the 18th
February, farm worker Mohammad Il Ibrahim, 20, was shot in the right leg
as farmers, together with the international Human Rights Workers,
attempted to leave the area having worked on their land for 2 hours in
full view of the Israeli forces.

On the 18th January, Maher Abu-Rajileh (24) from Khoza’a village, was
killed by Israeli soldiers while working on his land 400m from the Green
Line. On the 20th January, Israeli soldiers shot Waleed al-Astal (42) of
Al Qarara (near Khan Younis) in his right foot, while on the 27th January,
Anwar al-Buraim was shot in the neck and killed.

Subject: Gazan coast becoming a 'no-go' zone
Date:    Wed, February 18, 2009 12:44 pm

forwarded by: "paranoid android"

On Wed, 18/2/09, orange jenny <ojonamission at> wrote:

Gazan coast becoming a 'no-go' zone
16th February, 2009

On Saturday 14th February, 23 year-old Rafiq abu Reala was shot by Israeli
naval forces whilst fishing in Gazan territorial waters, approximately two
nautical miles out from the port of Gaza city. He was in a simple fishing
vessel, not much larger than a rowing boat, with a small outboard engine,
known locally as a 'hassaka'. Rafiq, his brother Rajab and another friend
were following the course of a shoal of fish. A group of five more
hassakas were out at the time, about a kilometre to the west of Rafiq's
boat, further out to sea.

An Israeli naval gunboat approached the area and began shooting at the other
hassakas, which quickly changed course and headed east, back towards shore.

Suddenly Rafiq realised the gunboat was bearing down on their hassaka. As
he recounted the events of that day, Rafiq likened the predatory nature of
the naval vessel to that of a wolf. It circled their fishing boat and
began shooting heavy ammunition in their direction. The three terrified
fishermen threw themselves down flat in the bottom of their boat. The
Israeli captain ordered them via megaphone to raise their nets and leave
the area. At this point the gunboat was less then 20 metres from Rafiq's
hassaka. The second time the gunboat came around no attempt was made to
communicate with the fishermen. Rafiq was desperately pulling in the nets
with his back facing the gunboat. An M-16 assault rifle was fired hitting
him twice with
explosive 'dum-dum' bullets, which peppered his back with shrapnel from the
bullets themselves.


The force of the shots threw him in the water, plunging him down about six
or seven metres below the surface. Rajab asked their friend to control the
boat while he rescued Rafiq. Being a strong swimmer, he dived in after
Rafiq and pulled him out of the water into the hassaka. However, Rafiq was
unconscious by this time. The outboard was being slowed down by the weight
of the nets so they headed towards another hassaka 300 metres away where
they dumped the nets. The fishermen in this vessel had a mobile phone and
made an emergency call. The stricken hassaka reached port at the same time
as the ambulance arrived and Rafiq was taken to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza
city in a serious condition.

A couple of days later it was possible to visit Rafiq in hospital. He was
weak and in a lot of pain, with some difficulty breathing, but was
beginning to improve. His x-ray clearly indicated the presence of the
bullet shrapnel between his shoulder and his spine. An enquiry regarding
the possibility of surgery to remove the fragments was met with a solemn
"no" from Rafiq's uncle, present at his bedside, who explained, "The
pieces are too many, too small and too widespread. His whole back would
have to be opened up." It is not only Rafiq's back which has the metal
shards still embedded in it; the shrapnel also penetrated his lungs. They
sustained pulmonary contusions, resulting in a haemothorax. The only
treatment Rafiq can benefit from at this time is to have blood drained
which is collecting in the pleural cavity in the upper left side of his
chest. 1.5 litres of blood was initially drained off when he was first
admitted but this amount later decreased and stabilised. Medication is
limited to painkillers and

It could take Rafiq months to fully recover yet he has a family to
support. He married just six months ago and his wife is now expecting
their first baby. After five years of working as a fisherman, he has
experienced Israeli naval forces firing warning shots on many occasions
but this was the first time he has been directly targeted. However, Rajab
being shot in the chest by the Israeli navy two and a half years ago. It is
sobering to note that 14 Gazan fishermen have been killed by the Israeli
navy since 2000. Rafiq described the level shooting on Saturday like an
war. Fishermen were attacked from Wadi Gaza, south of Gaza city, all the
way to the north of Gaza. A number of hassakas were targeted that day,
some vessels sustaining serious damage from the shooting.

Palestinian fishermen have come under daily assaults from Israeli gunboats
since Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire which supposedly came into
force on 18th January. Reports of heavy gunfire and even missile fire are
now becoming the 'norm'. Rafiq is the third Gazan fisherman to be shot by
the Israeli navy during this non-existant ceasefire. On 26th January, Alaa
al-Habil was shot in the lower leg whilst trawling less than one nautical
mile off the coast of Gaza . On 6th February, Mahmoud al-Nadar was shot in
both legs whilst 1.5 nautical miles off the coast of Rafah in the south of
the Gaza Strip. Nowadays it is unthinkable for fishermen to venture beyond
three nautical miles from the Gazan coast, with many vessels staying just
metres from the beach. However, Gazan territorial waters reach 12 nautical
miles offshore – indeed, the Oslo Accords grant a fishing zone extending
as far as 20 nautical miles.

Israel is attempting to create arbitrary 'no-go' zones in the sea enforced
solely by the gun. They might succeed if it weren't for the resilience of
the fishermen. All this is akin to what is happening on land. The Israeli
Occupation Force has declared an area of Palestinian land a kilometre in
from the Green Line a 'closed military zone', affecting an audacious land
grab which threatens to swallow a vast swathe of rich agricultural land
all the way along the eastern length of the Gaza strip.

International human rights observers are currently accompanying farmers
determined to harvest their crops in one such area. In the months prior to
Israel 's war on Gaza, members of ISM Gaza Strip were accompanying
Palestinian fishermen on a regular basis and witnessed countless acts of
Israeli military aggression against them whilst in Gazan territorial
waters, despite a six-month ceasefire agreement holding at the time.

The international community remains silent about these daily violations of
international human rights law. One cannot help wondering what an outcry
there would inevitably be if the tables were turned and an Israeli
civilian received similar injuries. Such an incident would scupper current
negotiations attempting to broker a more genuine long-term ceasefire. Yet
whilst it is Palestinian civilians who suffer such atrocities, the world
gazes on, indifferent.



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