On the 5th day of Ramadan, I meet a young man who has been shot through the chest. His has great difficulty breathing, let alone speaking, and has a tube running from his chest, draining the blood from internal bleeding.
Mas’oud (20) is a farm-labourer, was working on land in the northwest of Gaza two days ago when, around 3pm, he was shot by Israeli soldiers at the Green Line border.
The youth he was working with at the time, Said (16), died right away from his bullets to the chest. The two had been working on a vegetable plot.
His grandmother sits in his hospital room, speaking of their large family and the need to work as hired labour. That type of day work brings at best 30 shekels per day. Some of Mas’oud’s brothers and cousins sit in the room, also farm labourers.
There are 16 children in the family, they tell me. I understand why Mas’oud must work: such a large family and no other real option for an income in the economically-shattered Strip that is Gaza under 3 years of siege and many invasions and attacks.
I read just yesterday the latest UN OCHA (office for coordination of humanitarian affairs) report which cited 95% of Gaza’s industries as having shut down due to the siege.
Mas’oud isn’t the first farm-worker I’ve met who has been injured by Israeli border soldiers’ shooting. And Said isn’t the first martyred in such conditions. The two were beyond the Israeli-imposed (unilaterally so) “buffer zone”, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Israeli authorities, for their part, apparently reported having seen suspicious figures approach the fence.
But we all know that all of Gaza’s Palestinians are deemed ‘suspicious figures’, so one doesn’t need concrete evidence of potential threat, does one? Just shoot, and forget about families like Said’s who will go through Ramadan with a martyr, or Mas’oud’s who have a loss of income, potentially new medical expenses, and a near-martyr.