Bulldozer treads had torn through bean and onion crops, in zigs and zags, leaving some but destroying most. Swaths of land were eaten by the military bulldozers’ blades: the wheat crop which might mature to waist high if not bulldozed was left to grow, but the calf-high beans and onions were mowed.
The 100 or so olive trees that had escaped the winter 2008-2009 “Israeli” massacre of Gaza and prior and later military invasions this time went with the 4 towering military bulldozers and 3 tanks.
Tracks spat out earth in clumps, not to be worked again this year, difficult to calm and smooth next year, in an area (near, but still outside of the Zionist-imposed 300 metre no-go zone, the “buffer zone”) where tractors fear to come and leave at first Zionist gunshot.
Abu Taima was withered, beaten today. He was still dignified, dressed in his casual grey suit, still stood tall and spoke odes to the land… but he paled, he was ill, he said, when he thought of and finally saw the destruction of their land.
We start our walk of remorse, documenting the wake of the military machines on freshly-till and sowed land. More crushed and severed irrigation pipes, scarce and highly expensive in a Strip 1000 days under full-siege (from June 2007, although truly the siege began when Hamas was elected. Journalist Amira Hass would say the siege began shortly after the Oslo “peace” accords).
We stumble on mounds of bulldozer tracks, heaving the land upwards. We eye the sabr, that resilient cactus plant that grows roadside and re-emerges after each invasion, taking years to re-gain its former glory and fruit-bearing fertility. It lies flattened, smudged between bulldozer treads. It will possibly make good fire fuel, but its more important value is roadside and thriving, a home for the small birds that flit to and fro singing of life in the most impossible places: the cactus itself and the border regions of Gaza under occupation.
We see the heaving land mashed with would-be lentils and beans, swirls of bulldozer treads woven amidst the assaulted onion crops.
“Fifty dunams of Abu Taima land was destroyed,” says our mukthar, Abu Nasser Abu Taima. PCHR corroborates.