Archive for the Eyewitness Category

Israeli Soldiers Breaking The Silence on the Occupation of Palestine

Posted in Eyewitness on November 20, 2012 by lamalucy

Former Israeli paratrooper Avner Gvaryahu, now an activist with Breaking The Silence explains to Green Left Weekly’s Peter Boyle how 850 former Israeli soldiers have given testimony about the gross injustices against the Palestinian people they have witnessed and made to participate in as part of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. He was visiting Australia to promote the book “Our Harsh Logic” (Scribe Publications).

Witness to State Terror: Aboard the Mavi Marmara ( Fatima Mohammadi )

Posted in Eyewitness, Gaza on June 18, 2010 by lamalucy

Deadly Israeli raid on aid fleet -19 Internationals Dead **Boise Native Fatima Mohammadi Was on Aid Ship

Posted in Eyewitness, Gaza on May 31, 2010 by lamalucy

A Chicago-based human rights activist is among hundreds of elected
officials, former diplomats, aid workers and activists currently en
route by sea to Gaza to break Israel’s blockade of the tiny strip of
land. Fatima Mohammadi, who lives in Chicago, is currently aboard the
Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship with hundreds of aid workers and
activists aboard. A total of six ships, including two cargo ships and
other passenger vehicles, are carrying more than 10,00 tons of
humanitarian aid to the besieged region, which has been under Israeli

blockade since 2006.

“Israel has marshalled its most lethal military vessels to try to stop this humanitarian marine convoy, but we will not be intimidated,” Ms. Mohammadi said early this afternoon from the Mavi Marmara by instant message. “Too much is at stake for the people of Gaza, who continue to suffer tremendously and needlessly under Israel’s inhumane, illegal blockade.”

Two boats in the aid flotilla, one currently traveling with the convoy
to Gaza and another in port in Cyprus for repairs, are flagged and
registered in the United States. The ships are U.S. territory under
maritime law, and the U.S. government is required to intervene if this
“U.S. property” is attacked or illegally confiscated by Israeli
authorities — a tactic Israel has threatened and deployed in the
past. Israel has a long history of attacking ships whose missions are
deemed undesirable. In December 2008, it rammed the Dignity, carrying
medical and humanitarian aid, doctors, human rights workers and a
former U.S. congresswoman, without warning in international waters.

Israel intensified its 2006 blockade after attacking the area in a
weeks-long assault that ended in January 2009, killing more than 1,400
and leaving thousands more homeless and reducing huge swaths of
housing to rubble. The blockade has created mass unemployment and
extreme poverty, leaving four out of five Gazans — half of whom are
children — dependent on humanitarian aid.

The Freedom Flotilla carries more than 10,000 tons of relief and
developmental aid to Gaza. These supplies are being delivered by a
coalition of international civil society and human rights
organizations directly to the people of Gaza, using only international
waters and the coastal waters immediately off of Gaza for passage. The
flotilla is expected to arrive in Gaza as early as today.

Chicagoans will protest in support of the flotilla’s humanitarian
mission at 4:30 PM on Tuesday, June 1, in front of the Israeli
consulate at 111 E. Wacker Dr. in Chicago.

U.S.-based humanitarian projects with news updates on the Gaza aid flotilla:

WitnessGaza.com
http://www.freegaza.org
gazafreedommarch.org

LIVE video feed: http://www.livestream.com/insaniyardim

Israeli commandos have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships off the coast of the Gaza Strip, killing up to 19 people on board.

Dozens of others were injured when troops raided the convoy of six ships, dubbed the Freedom Flotilla, early on Monday.

Israel said activists on board attacked its commandos as they boarded the ships, while the flotilla’s organisers said the Israeli forces opened fire first, as soon as they stormed the convoy.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, gave his “full backing” to the military forces after the raid.

“The prime minister… reiterated his full backing for the IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] and inquired about the well-being of the wounded,” his office told the AFP news agency.

He also said Israel regretted the loss of life in the raid.

Israeli media reported that many of the dead were Turkish nationals.

Organisers of the Freedom Flotilla say it was carrying 700 activists and 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid with the aim of breaking the Israeli siege of Gaza.

Full Story at http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2010/05/201053113252437484.html

ANCHORED IN THE MEDITERRANEAN:
THE US PRESENCE ON THE FREEDOM FLOATILLA TO GAZA – by fatima mohammadi

If allowed in, this will be my third humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza.

Each convoy has had its difficulties and its joys. The difficulty of

this current convoy is that nearly 800 volunteers aboard 6 ships are

attempting to enter the besieged strip through International waters –

a completely legal activity – despite constant threats by the Israeli

government to block, arrest and deport the entire convoy. These

threats have two effects in my opinion: 1) they highlight the severity

and depth of the siege that Israel has imposed on Gaza for nearly four

years, showing Israel to be the vicious occupier and instigator of

hostility in the region that we know them to be and 2) they strengthen

the resolve of volunteers around the world, on this convoy and beyond,

who are aware of the plight of the Palestinians and who actively seek

a resolution to the unjust occupation and continued colonization of

Palestine. Of course, the joy of this convoy is the real potential it

has to finally end the siege on Gaza if it gains enough international

support and attention in the upcoming hours.

Currently, we are anchored in the Mediterranean Sea about a 6 hour

sail from Cyprus, where we have been awaiting two final ships. A Greek

ship carrying members of Parliament from half a dozen European

countries has just arrived, and the Irish boat, the MV Rachel Corrie

follows shortly. We will soon set sail towards Gaza, straight towards

the threats of Israel to stop us at all costs, including by use of

force. Rest assured, however, regardless of their tactics to stop us –

force or delay – we will not turn back nor will we allow Israel to

board our ships.

It is imperative to reiterate that this is an unarmed humanitarian aid

convoy carrying the better part of one thousand volunteers from 1½

years of age to 88 years of age, from more than 30 countries. We have

the official support of the governments of France, Mexico, Belgium,

Brazil, Chile, Italy and the European Union. Unfortunately, my own

country is not on that list…the United States. As they are a

stall-worth supporter of Israel, that is hardly surprising. What is

surprising, however, is that although I was the only American on board

as an IHH participant, I have been joined by a few US citizens from

the Free Gaza movement and discovered that we are 11 in all –

including ex-military and government personnel, dual citizens,

activists and medical volunteers. Most have been to Gaza at least once

and are “used to” dealing with the threats of oppressive regimes and

direct conflict with their police and military forces. And most of us

still hope and expect the United States to take an openly supportive

role of this convoy and to pressure Israel to allow our convoy into

Gaza to deliver aid.

In sum, we, the Americans on board the ships, and the collective “we,”

volunteers and people of conscious from around the world, are relying

upon the support of our fellow citizens and our respective governments

to pressure Israel to 1) allow this humanitarian aid convoy into Gaza

and 2) once and for all end this crippling and unjust siege of Gaza.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION! WE NEED YOU TO SPREAD THE WORD!!! Join the Freedom

Floatilla: Midwest Emergency Response Network on Facebook and stay

updated through the dozens of media sources on board the Mavi Marmara,

our IHH ship of volunteers, including Al-Jazeera English, Arabic, and

Indonesia, Press TV-UK, Venezuela-Telesur TV, and El Quds and El Aqsa

TV.

Send a letter demanding that the Israeli government allow free passage

to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. Every time someone sends a letter from

the following link, it will email AND fax 150 Israeli Embassies and

Consulates worldwide:

http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/6207/t/6210/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=3142

Sign the petition:

http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/6207/t/6210/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=775

Organizations wishing to suport the Midwest Emergency should send an

e-mail to ISMinChicago@aol. com with the name of your group and your

contact information.

Also, if you are located in the Midwest, please send an e-mail address

for media contacts to: FGMinChicago@aol.com and include your phone

number if possible!

Please see also:
http://www.witnessgaza.com/
http://fpmdigitalship.blogspot.com/
http://www.freegaza.org/
http://www.ihh.org.tr/
http://savegaza.eu/eng/
http://www.perdana4peace.org/Default.aspx
http://www.shiptogaza.gr/
http://shiptogaza.se/
http://www.commondreams.org/

Israelis Kill at least 10, Injure Dozens in Assault on Gaza Ship Convoy Carrying Humanitarian Aid

http://palsolidarity.org/2010/05/12551/

UPDATE 3 PM (GMT+2): All six humanitarian aid ships have been docked in Ashdod. The injured, numbering over 25, have been taken to Tel Hashomer and Beilinson hospitals, according to Physicians for Human Rights. The death toll has been reported as high as 19.

10 PM CST: Solidarity activists aboard one of six relief vessels traveling to Gaza with humanitarian report that they have been attacked by Israeli forces, with three of their human rights volunteers killed and roughly 30 injured. The assault comes in the wake of the flotilla being surrounded earlier today by three Israeli warships in international waters, roughly 70 miles away from the Israeli coast. The Flotilla moved further west, deeper into international waters to avoid any conflict with Israeli navy vessels, but had been concerned all night that Israeli forces would send small inflatable military boats towards the flotilla and attempt to attack and board the humanitarian vessels.

Those fears have apparently been realized, with people aboard the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship with hundreds of aid workers and activists aboard, reporting that they have been attacked. At least three passengers have been killed and dozens more wounded. Israeli commandos apparently rappelled onto the Mavi Marmara, whose passengers range in age from 88 to a year old and include Christians, Muslims and Jews seeking to end the blockade. Midwest U.S. activists have been unable to reach Chicagoan Fatima Mohammadi, traveling aboard the Mavi Marmara.

**Note from Voices for Palestine; Fatima is a native of Boise, ID – our thoughts and prayers are on her safe and speedy return home)

Live video from the flotilla shows Israeli naval commando vessels pulling alongside the aid ships, and what sounds like gunfire can be heard in the background. No-one on the aid ships is carrying any kinds of weapons, including for defense against a feared Israeli attack in international waters.

Hundreds of elected officials, former diplomats, aid workers and activists – including a Nobel laureate and many European legislators – are with the flotilla, traveling by sea to Gaza to break Israel’s blockade of the tiny strip of land. Foreign news correspondents and independent journalists are traveling aboard the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship with hundreds of aid workers and activists aboard which is also running its own press operation reachable at the satellite number +8821636619168. A total of six ships, including two cargo ships and other passenger vehicles, are carrying thousands of tons of humanitarian aid to the beseiged region, which has been under Israeli blockade since 2006.

Israel has marshalled its most lethal military vessels to try to stop the humanitarian marine convoy, and at around 2:20 pm Central Standard Time (US) the first reports of unmanned drone planes buzzing the vessels was received from convoy passengers.

Two boats in the aid flotilla, one currently traveling with the convoy to Gaza and another in port in Cyprus for repairs, are flagged and registered in the United States. The ships are U.S. territory under maritime law, and the U.S. government is required to intervene if this “U.S. property” is attacked or illegally confiscated by Israeli authorities — a tactic Israel has threatened and deployed in the past. Israel has a long history of attacking ships whose missions are deemed undesirable. In December 2008, it rammed the Dignity, carrying medical and humanitarian aid, doctors, human rights workers and a former U.S. congresswoman, without warning in international waters.

Israel intensified its 2006 blockade after attacking the area in a weeks-long assault that ended in January 2009, killing more than 1,400 and leaving thousands more homeless and reducing huge swaths of housing to rubble. The blockade has created mass unemployment and extreme poverty, leaving four out of five Gazans — half of whom are children — dependent on humanitarian aid.

The Freedom Flotilla carries more than 10,000 tons of relief and developmental aid to Gaza, along with roughly 700 participants from more than 30 countries, among them volunteers from South Africa, Algeria, Turkey, Macedonia, Pakistan, Yemin, Kosovo, the UK and US and Kuwait – and an exiled former Archbishop of Jerusalem who currently lives in the Vatican. The cargo includes prefabricated homes and playgrounds, cement and other home-building supplies, medical devices and medications, textiles and food, in defiance of Israel’s siege on Gaza, which restricts the entry of all materials, including food and medicine. The flotilla’s supplies were gathered by a coalition of international civil society and human rights organizations to be sent directly to the people of Gaza by sea, using only international waters and the coastal waters immediately off of Gaza for passage. The flotilla is expected to arrive in Gaza as early as today.

Participants on board speak languages that include English, Turkish, Kurdish, over ten dialects of Arabic, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, Portugeuse, French, Malaysian, Indonesian, Norweigen, Swedish, Urdu, Punjabi, Farsi, Hindi, German, Flemish, Greek, Catalon, Russian, Bosnian, Chechen, Macedonian and Albanian. Reporters on board hail from locations that include the United Kingdom, Spain, Malaysia, Indonesia, Venezuela, Kuwait, South Africa, Pakistan, Jordan, the Persian Gulf and across the Arab world.

16 year old girl used as a human shield in the old city of Nablus

Posted in Eyewitness on May 14, 2010 by lamalucy

Dua’a Abboud (16) lives with her family in the old city of Nablus. On 18 February 2010, at around 3:30am, they woke up to the sound of banging on the door. As the door got stuck when trying to open it, the Israeli soldiers who were outside ordered them to step away, broke down the door, and stormed the house. Most of them were wearing masks on their faces. They had come to arrest Dua’a’s brother, Mohammad (17). While searching the house, they beat Mohammad and Khaled, and ordered Dua’a to open the closets and lift the beds: “You lift the mattress, and we step away.” They told her in Arabic. “They moved three metres backward towards the door while aiming their weapons at me… They ordered me to search the closets and other items in the room.” Mohammad was taken in his pajama to a military jeep, hand-tied and blindfolded. He is currently detained at Megiddo prison. Since his arrest, Khaled (15) has been replacing him in his job and is providing for the whole family, due to their father’s disabilty.
Dua‟a Abboud (16) lives with her family in the old city of Nablus. Her family has nine members: her father, Omar, who due to diabetes he had his legs amputated and requires dialysis three times a week, her mother, Waseefi, and her siblings Zubeida (19), Mohammad (17), Dua‟a (16), Khaled (15), Ameen (6), Tamer (4), Haitham (3). Her brother Mohammad dropped out of school after completing 9th grade in order to support his family in view of his father‟s disability.
On 18 February 2010, at around 3:30am, Dua‟a and her family woke up to the sound of banging on the door. The door got stuck when they were trying to open it. Thus, the soldiers ordered them to step away, broke down the door, and stormed the house. Most of them were wearing masks on their faces. They were looking for Dua‟a‟s brother, Mohammad (17), who they had come to arrest. A soldier pointed a weapon at him and ordered him to raise his hands. “Are you Mohammad?” Yes, he responded. Immediately, several soldiers started to beat him and ask him about his weapon. They twisted his right arm, in which he had recently had surgery. Then they asked him about his friend ‘Ala. When he denied having been with him, the soldiers went to his brother Khaled (15) and beat him, thinking he was „Ala. After seeing Khaled‟s birth certificate, they let him go.
The soldiers ordered all the family members, except for Dua‟a and Mohammad, to gather in the parent‟s room. Dua‟a went to fetch Mohammad‟s ID from the room, and was followed by two soldiers who asked her: “Are you brining Mohammad‟s weapon?” She replied: “Mohammad doesn‟t have a weapon; I‟m just going to get his ID.” One of the soldiers ordered her to stand in a corner while pointing his weapon at her. The other soldier told him to let her out, so she took the ID went back to the hall. Dua‟a describes: “I was shivering in fear. I gave the ID to one of the soldiers and one of them ordered me to sit on the bed where Mohammad was sleeping. All my family members were in my parents‟ room and the soldiers didn‟t allow them to leave. They
pointed their weapons at me and one of them sat beside me. Some of them were taking pictures of the house with a digital camera.”
Then, the soldier sitting beside her stood up and ordered Dua‟a to lift the mattress to see what was under it: “You lift the mattress, and we step away,” he said. “I did so while I was quivering because I was very scared. They moved three metres backward towards the door while aiming their weapons at me.” Dua‟a‟s father explains: “They focused their search on the place where Mohammad was sleeping. They ordered her – Dua‟a – to lift the bed but she couldn‟t because it was heavy. At that moment, they moved about two metres away from her and pointed their weapons at her. „I can‟t lift it, you want me to tear it apart?‟ she asked them, and they ordered her to leave it. She was scared and kept crying and shivering the whole time. I saw the whole thing because the door of the room where I was is directly opposite the hall. The room and the hall are open to each other.” Then, the soldiers took Dua‟a to the room and ordered her to search the closets and other items in the room while still pointing their weapons at her.
When they finished the search and were about to take Mohammad, Dua‟a‟s father asked the soldiers to bring Mohammad to his room so he could say good bye. Dua‟a remembers: “My father asked the soldiers to bring Mohammad to him before they arrest him because is diabetic and both of his legs were amputated so he can‟t walk, but the soldiers shouted at him.” Then, reluctantly, they brought Mohammad to said goodbye to his parents and siblings. He is currently being held in Megiddo prison.
After Mohammad‟s arrest, Khaled took over his job at the cafeteria of an-Najah University. Omar, Dua‟a‟s father, explains: “Mohammad was the only provider for the family because I can‟t work because of my health condition. Khaled had to do this to support the family. He earns NIS40 per day; NIS10 for him and NIS30 for us. He dropped out of school before Mohammad‟s arrest. Mohammad also dropped out of school. They wanted to support the family because of my illness that I have been suffering for four years now.”
DCI-Palestine, 10 May 2010

http://www.palestinemonitor.org/spip/spip.php?article1397

Picking pebbles to survive in Gaza

Posted in Eyewitness, Gaza on March 7, 2010 by lamalucy

Eva Bartlett, The Electronic Intifada, 3 March 2010

GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IPS) – They come by the hundreds every day to sand dunes and rubble sites to sift for pebbles, stones and sand that can be used in making concrete blocks. They lean into trash bins across the Gaza Strip, and wade through piles of rubbish scavenging for plastics, metals and any bits worth reselling.

They venture dangerously close to the border fence to unlock metal and steel rods from their demolished home heaps. They are Gaza’s recyclers, and in a Strip where unemployment hovers at nearly 50 percent and poverty soars over 80 percent, environmental considerations are far from their minds. They do this work out of necessity.

Yousef, 14, leads two of his younger brothers in their daily hunt for concrete materials off the highway between Khan Younis and Deir al-Balah.

“We live in Khan Younis and it takes about 30 minutes to get to this site. But we stop anywhere along the road to look for gravel,” he says, stooping to sort rocks. One of his brothers works in Gaza’s tunnels, another has no work. “I’ve got five sisters, too. There’re 12 of us altogether, and my dad has no work.”

Like many unemployed men in Gaza, Yousef’s father used to work in Israel, until Israeli authorities closed Gaza’s borders. Now, he infrequently works day labor for farmers when there is work, but the pay is low.

Moatassan, Yousef’s three-year-old brother, piles pebbles onto the donkey cart, adding his bit to the family income. “Each cartful is worth about 30 shekels [$8],” Yousef says. “We can usually do two carts a day.”

He is characteristic of Palestine’s children who become adults all too quickly. “Thank God, this is at least some sort of work,” he says, never breaking from his rock sorting.

A few hundred meters south along Salah al-Din road, the soft sand hills are crowded with the day’s sorters. Children jab shovels into the sand, pile it into buckets, and laboriously haul the buckets to piles a hundred meters off. They do this every day, morning to night.

Older women sit, makeshift sieves dancing as they sift the finer sand, likewise piling it into buckets to be carried away. Abu Majed, a man in his late forties, works with some of his children digging and bucketing sand.

“I worked as a fisherman all my life. But after the Israelis started attacking us more on the sea, and prevented us from going out very far, there was no longer any point in fishing,” he says.

Under the Oslo accords, Palestinian fishermen should be allowed to fish 20 miles off the coast. Israeli gunboats impose a limit of three miles, firing and shelling on fishermen who venture near or beyond three miles, or even on those nearer in.

“We were sardine fishers, but sardines aren’t found next to the coast, you need to go out beyond six miles. What could I do? I have six children to feed. So I started selling sand and gravel. This is hard work and I only earn around 30 shekels a day. But it’s better than starving.”

Ninety-five percent of Gaza’s industry has been decimated by the combination of the siege — imposed shortly after Hamas was elected in 2006, and tightened in June 2007 — and by Israel’s winter 2008-2009 war on Gaza which destroyed or badly damaged 700 factories and businesses, according to Oxfam.

The nearly 4,000 industrial establishments which formerly operated in Gaza have ground to a halt, leaving a mere five percent of factories operating, reports the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), noting that even those operating do so at greatly reduced levels of activity.

The combination of siege and the war on Gaza led to a loss of roughly 120,000 private sector jobs since mid-2007, according to OCHA.

And while the full closure of Gaza’s borders and trade has become most severe in the last three years, Israeli journalist Amira Hass points out that Israel’s debilitating policy of Gaza border closures has been in place since the 1990s.

But to those scavenging off the roads and in garbage dumps, it’s the stark contrast between just years ago when there was some work and now, when there is none, that is the hardest.

Near central Gaza’s Deir al-Balah, just off the main north-south road, five men work what used to be a 12-man job at the scrap metal yard.

“We work from 7am to 7pm, and another shift takes over,” says Mahmoud. “We earn at most 50 shekels a day. It’s not enough — we have to take taxis here and home and are trying to meet the expenses of our families.”

Prior to the siege, working from 7am to 4pm the workers would earn 100 shekels. The metal was exported, sold outside of Gaza. Now, the factory owner waits, collecting metal in heaping piles, waiting for the time when exporting will be possible again.

“We didn’t all work this job before. Some of us studied in university, some worked construction. We all had jobs or lives better than this,” says Mahmoud.

“But we take the work because there’s no other option. We need to live.”

The steel, gravel, sand and metals Gaza’s poorest now scavenge for a pittance of shekels used to come from Israel, at a cheaper rate than what it currently sells for.

According to OCHA, one ton of cement now costs 3,400 shekels ($900) versus the 350 shekels ($92) it cost prior June 2007.

Whereas construction materials made up more than 50 percent of pre-siege imports, according to the Palestine Trade Centre, since Israel’s war on Gaza, only 0.05 percent of the monthly average prior to the siege had been allowed into Gaza as of December 2009. The siege prevents cement, piping, wood, glass, steel and metals, as well as all but less than 40 items into Gaza.

Even if there were enough cement, 20 of 29 concrete factories were damaged in the Israeli war on Gaza, along with 39 other factories related to construction, reports OCHA. With more than 6,400 houses destroyed or severely damaged, and nearly 53,000 with lesser damages, the need for these materials is great. And the wait has been long. Displaced families continue to rent apartments most cannot afford to pay for, crowd into relatives’ overcrowded homes, or live in tents.

At a concrete factory using recycled rubble, hand-gathered gravel and tunnel-imported cement, the prices are high and still at a loss.

“One cement block costs four shekels now. Before, it was one shekel,” says factory owner Abu Fadi. “Now we wait for one week for a pile of pebbles and rocks like this to reprocess into concrete blocks,” he gestures at the mound ready for processing.

“The cement we buy from Egypt is over three times as expensive since it comes through the tunnels,” he explains. “It’s absurd. Now, we pay 150 shekels per ton of gravel. But before, we used to pay people to take the gravel away.”

Gravel and cement quality, availability and prices are just some of the issues.

“Gaza has an electricity crisis now. So that means we can only run our machinery when the power is on. But there are usually cuts for eight hours a day. Twelve hours now. So we sit and wait.”

Down the lane is a small steel recycling shop. Donkey carts unload the rubble-scavenged steel and workers clamp and hammer it straight.

“It’s ironic. The demolished homes create a demand for building material. But at the same time, they provide the rubble and iron needed to rebuild,” says Abu Fadi.

Ahmad, 23, quit university to work in the tunnels, bringing roughly 100 shekels ($26.50) a day when there is money. Some days his tunnel brings cement. This day’s cargo is gravel from Egypt. “A 50 kg bag of gravel will sell for 100 shekels in Gaza,” he says.

Sameh finished university and worked for two years before he became unemployed. “I joined my friends finally, gathering rocks and rubble near the border. We can sell one ton for 150 shekels, that’s 50 shekels per person. It’s hard, backbreaking work. I’m sore all over.”

Workers in the border regions suffer more than the strain of their efforts. Since mid 2007, at least 33 Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli soldiers, including 11 children, as of August 2009. More than 61 civilians, including 13 children, have been injured, according to OCHA.

Shahin Abu Ajuwa, 17, still has shrapnel in both his legs after an Israeli tank fired a dart bomb at him and his cousin Saber, 15, as they collected rocks and scrap metal east of Jabaliya, at the end of November 2009.

“We were over 600 meters from the border. We were in an area where many people go daily to collect metal and stones,” Ajuwa said. “The Israelis always see people working here, it’s normal.”

One of eight sons, Ajuwa has five sisters, and the 10 or 20 shekels he might have earned that day would have gone towards his family income.

“The doctors removed one from my leg, but there are still six more left.”

Some are abducted and detained by Israeli soldiers. Every week, news reports announce more rubble workers have been abducted by Israeli soldiers from within Gaza, including children, many of whom were beyond the 300 meters designated by Israel as “off-limits” to Palestinians.

The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights reports such an incident on 10 February, when Israeli soldiers fired on youths gathering rubble 350 meters from the border. One of the three workers, 17-year-old Mohammed Suboh, was injured in the hand and chest by Israeli gunfire. All three were taken to Israeli detention. Suboh was released four days later.

http://electronicintifada.net/new.shtml

Peaceful Demonstrators Shot at by Israeli Army

Posted in Eyewitness on February 20, 2010 by lamalucy

Today there were demonstrations and confrontations in a number of locations in the occupied West Bank with three enduring particularly vicious Israeli attacks: Ni’lin, Bil’in, Al-Ma’sara. It is impossible to be in many places at one time so I chose to go to Al-Ma’sara for their weekly demonstration. There, the demonstrators decided to go on the main street and as soon as we got there, the occupation army attacked the peaceful demonstrators. There were no warnings but immediate volley of concussion grenades and tear gas canisters. The soldiers chased people into the village and continued firing. I stayed close to the soldiers and tried to reason with them. In one instance they used a stun grenade to prevent me from talking to soldiers who are mindlessly obeying officers. I could not help think of Nazis and Apartheid soldiers. I persisted in trying to reason with them. As we were leaving, a higher ranking military intelligence officer stopped me and did get my name and coordinates.

But I wish we were also in Ni’lin and Bil’in where demonstrators actually succeeded in dismantling section of the apartheid barrier in both villages (Israelis call it in Hebrew Geder HaHafrada, segregation barrier). A few hundred demonstrated in Ni’lin and some injuries were reported (see report below in Arabic). Over a thousand demonstrated in Bil’in and the army dispersed them with concussion grenades and tear gas (see misleading report in Haaretz http://www.haaretz. com/hasen/ spages/1151032. html ). We hope you will join us in Beit Sahour on Sunday at Ush Ghrab on the eastern side of the town at 10:30 AM (till 12:30) to protest the Israeli military activities in the area. Here is where the International Solidarity Movement got its birth nearly 10 years ago and where a tax revolt in 1988 showed the way of civil resistance. Here is where people will once again show what it means to stand-up for peace and justice. Prayers will be offered and a peaceful vigil will occur on the spot. As we always say: silence is complicity.