*Yahya abu Saif (20), missile victim.
*Maher Habashi (24), missile victim.
“They thought I was dead. I was covered in blood. They put me in the morgue fridge. I was in there for maybe 10 minutes. A neighbour came to say his good byes and saw that I was breathing. He took my pulse and discovered I was alive. I was transferred to an operating room and had surgery to remove the shrapnel from my abdomen and side.”
Maher Habashi was sleeping in his home in Shaff neighbourhood outside Gaza city when a tank shell hit the house. It was 1:15 am on 15 January. “I was with my uncle and a friend. We all ran outside after the tank shell.”
Two drone missiles followed minutes after, hitting the trio. The first hit two other people outside and injured Habashi in the torso and leg. The second was dropped as they continued to flee. This time it reached Habashi’s uncle and friend, killing them. post continues
“She was standing in the wheat field near her demolished home, about 800 m from Green Line border, when Israeli soldiers began shooting. The first two bullets hit the ground near her. The third hit her in the kneecap,” Wafa al Najar’s mother explained, sitting on an empty hospital bed next to her injured daughter.
We’d left Khoza’a after having been shot at by Israeli soldiers again -these shots, within one metre, the closest so far. The thought of the few desperate farmers who might try to go back on land worried me; I remembered Mohammed’s words about having no other choice, needing to risk it in order to provide for his 2 children and wife. post continues
*Fara al Helo (1 year old) killed the day after her uncle, Mohammed al Helo (lower right), was killed by drone missiles
-by Eva Bartlett
Amer al-Helo smiled wanly while saying he is broken inside. Twenty days after Israeli soldiers shot dead his 55-year-old father and his one-year-old daughter in front of him, also shooting his oldest daughter in the elbow and his brother in the shoulder, the pain of the 29-year-old had not diminished. Then again, he’d only just recovered the rotting corpse of his father six days earlier; his entire area of Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood had been cut off from ambulances and emergency teams until Israel unilaterally declared an end to the extensive bombing of Gaza and pulled ground troops out of occupied areas on 18 January. post continues
Jabaliya’s Rayan tent camp residents
In Jabliya’s Rayan emergency tent camp, 69 tents have been set up to serve a homeless population of 500 families, averaging from 5 to 12 people per family, whose homes were blown apart, burned, or razed to the ground by Israeli forces during the 3 weeks of attacks on Gaza. The tents, the barest of structures, are not sufficient against the heavy rains of the past days.
“The water came into our tents and flooded the floor. How are we supposed to live like this?” Abu Nimer, 52, asked. post continues
What caused the Israeli soldiers to shoot a deaf farmer today? Was he threatening? Was it because the group of farm labourers had successfully worked quickly to harvest their day’s wages? Was the sight of retreating, unarmed, clearly non-threatening civilians too tempting to resist?
Whatever the motivation, the result is another casualty of Israeli soldiers’ malevolence: a 20 year old deaf farmer, Mohammad al-Buraim, working the land to support his family of 16, may not walk easily again. The bullet which targeted his ankle penetrated straight through and landed in the tire of the truck he’d been pushing. post continues
*Abu Alaa, bringing food for his donkeys and camels
-by Eva Bartlett
“I worked on farms in Israel for 15 years,” Abu Alaa, the owner of the land said. “We had a good relationship, and the Israeli farmers loved my bread, Palestinian bread, and our baclawa (“baklava”) sweets. I had to stop working there when Israel closed our borders, stopped giving permits to Palestinians to work in Israel.”
Abu Alaa lives in Khan Younis and owns land in the newly-extended “Buffer Zone”, the strip of land along the Green Line which, from North to South, cuts into Palestinian land by a full 1 km now. When the Buffer Zone was ‘only’ 300m, it was already 300 m too much land absorbed by the Israeli military occupation forces. post continues