Beit Hanoun, April 13 demonstration against the Israeli-imposed “buffer zone” and the Israeli army brutality which comes with it. For many months, Palestinians have been marching in Beit Hanoun and other border regions, stretching down to the south-eastern Rafah border. Armed with flags, voices, spirit, and very aware of the dangers from the Israeli soldiers, Palestinian women, men, and youths march, singing, chanting and proclaiming their right to live, work and be on Palestinian land.
With a demonstration nearly each day of the week, Palestinians all over the Strip are mobilized. Their demands are far from extreme: their land and livelihood.
On 13 April, demonstrators carried photos of Tom Hurndall, the British activist shot in the head by an Israeli sniper on April 11 2003, as Hurndall tried to protect two children from Israeli fire.
And just as Palestinians remember, Tom, Rachel Corrie, James Millar, and other internationals injured while in solidarity with Palestinians, we remember the 1000s of Palestinians whose deaths have gone unrecognized, and 1000s more who have been injured by the Israeli occupation forces.
Demonstrators moved the flags from last week’s position to one closer to the border, facing the Israeli military towers as they re-claimed their land.
Farmers just slightly up the road, roughly 300 meters from the border, hurriedly harvest their wheat and rye. It’s early, they say, but they don’t want to risk waiting longer and having their crops burned, targeted by Israeli incendiary devices as happens in Gaza. Last May in Johr ad Dik, central eastern Gaza, Israeli soldiers shot incendiary devices into crops ready for harvest, burning the wheat and leaving a charred reminder of the farmers’ labour.
Today’s farmers are aware of the dangers from the northern border, its wall laden with military towers, remotely controlled machine gun towers, and tanks which enter at will.
When we see the tanks, we run, they say. But equally, they need these crops, and so they risk it.