Monthly Archives: February 2013

GAZA FARMERS & FISHERMEN FACT SHEET

Sadly I had to leave Gaza before this week’s events leading up to the international day of action in support of the Boycott of Israeli agricultural goods but I thought that everyone would be interested to see what’s going on in Gaza this week to highlight the call for Boycott. Please join the Boycott campaign, it’s the biggest and hopefully the best way to be effective in showing your support for the Palestinian people in their struggle to live normal lives under an extremely brutal and oppressive occupation.

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The impact of Israeli Occupation and Blockade on Gazan fishermen and farmers

Palestinian farmers and fishermen have been among the most frequent victims of Israeli violence during the last 45 years of military occupation. Here we present some basic facts and figures to illustrate this:

Following the recent November Israeli onslaught on Gaza that killed over 170 Palestinians and injured 1400 more, the Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza estimated that the agricultural sector incurred losses totalling US$21 million.

Source:http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Rapid%20Food%20Security%20Assessment%20%20December%20%202012.pdf

Since the ceasefire agreement on 22nd of November, 4 people have been killed and at least 85 injured, most of whom were farmers who work the land near the Israeli separation fence, shot by Israeli snipers.

Around 35% of Gaza’s most arable farmland is located in the buffer zone, where due to the danger that entails working on in, much of it has become a wasteland.

Source: PARC/CA paper, p 11

Also in the 10 days after the ceasefire at least 29 fishermen had been arrested and 9 fishing boats impounded as the naval blockade continues to destroy Gaza´s fishing industry and livelihoods.

A UN OCHA report has estimated that due to the blockade the lost agricultural output in the buffer zone totals 75,000 tons per year, representing lost income of more than US$50 million.

Source: http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_special_focus_2010_08_19_english.pdf p.23

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THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION FOR THE BOYCOTT OF ISRAELI AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS. SATURDAY 9TH FEBRUARY

Day of Action in Zeitoun, Gaza City and Madama, Nablus:

A Call from Palestinian Farmers and Fishermen

Gaza City Action: Meet 11am in Zeitoun Neighbourhood, next to the Car Market “Souq Sayarat” and Al Handasya Company. The march will then begin from Malaka Cross towards the farmland near the Israeli frontier.

West Bank Action: Meet 10am in Madama village, next to the mosque the farmers will then walk to the village land near Izthar settlement.

On Saturday 9th of February at 11am in the Bufferzone of Zeitoun neighbourhood Gaza City, Gaza farmers, fishermen, the Union of Agricultural Workers Committees and International activists from International Action for Palestine will join the International Day of Action for Palestinian farmers and fishermen. They will demonstrate at the Gaza Buffer Zone near the Eastern Israeli frontier, planting olive trees in previously bulldozed farmland and affirm the call by Palestinian agricultural organisations and the Palestinian BDS National Committee for worldwide boycott campaigns of Israeli agricultural products and Israeli agricultural export corporations. These companies are deeply complicit in Israel’s ongoing violations of international law and Palestinian human rights.

On this day at 10am in the West Bank the villagers of Madama, the centre for the Martyr Billal Najar from Burin and International Solidarity Movement activists will plant Olive trees on the land of Madama village where illegal settlers cut down hundreds of olive trees. The village of Madama faces frequent collaborated attacks between Israeli settlers and soldiers. Settlers from Yitzhar are notoriously violent, regularly attacking Palestinian farmers and shepherds from Madama and surrounding villages whose land they want to take. When Palestinians try to defend themselves from these attacks Israeli occupation forces take over, attack the Palestinians and kill, injure or arrest them to keep them off their land.

MustaphaArafat farmer from Zeitoun, Gaza City:

“The daily aggression suffered by us the Palestinian farmers every day must be highlighted to the world, so people can understand the reality of the attacks and the suffering that has continued throughout the recent ‘ceasefire’. The boycotts of Israeli companies in agriculture are so important as the Israeli occupation has destroyed our farming production and denied us the possibility of exporting our own products. International pressure on Israel is the only way our own economy will be allowed to develop and for us to live normal lives.”

Zakaria Bakr, fisherman from Gaza City:

“As some of the remaining Palestinian fishermen still able to fish, we urge all those around the world to launch campaigns to boycott Israeli Agricultural products and companies. Negotiations have for years only been a cover for making our lives worse. Boycotts are a peaceful activity and something that everyone can participate in. We have called for the boycotts because while our fishing industry, our communities and livelihoods have been destroyed by Israeli aggression, all of their industries have benefitted from destroying and confiscating our land and violently denying our access to the sea.”

Mamun Nassar, Farmer fromm Madama:

“I have been attacked injured and beaten by settlers many times while tending my flock. I was just imprisoned for six weeks because I was attacked by settlers on our land. The Settlers hit my face so hard they broke most of my teeth. My brother was shot and then arrested for trying to help me. All we want is to tend to our sheep. ”

We ask the thousands demonstrating in over 30 countries and other people of conscience to grow the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction campaigns against the Israeli apartheid regime.

For more information, contact:

UAWC – Sa´ad (Arabic and English): +972 (0) 59 041 9113

Center for the Martyr Billal Najar – Ghassan Najar (Arabic and English) +972 059 749 6115

International Action for Palestine – Adie (English, French, Spanish): +972 (0) 59 228 0943

 

Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/106728616164534/?context=create

Call for Boycott: http://www.bdsmovement.net/2013/farming-injustice-feb9-call-10352

UAWC: http://www.uawc-pal.org/

International Action for Palestine: http://www.actionforpalestine.org

 

From Defence For Children International :- Transfer of Child Detainees From Palestine to Jails Inside Israel

Taken From The Defence for Children International Web Site

Defence for Children International – Palestine Section
In December 2012, 51 percent of Palestinian child detainees were transferred to prisons inside Israel, in violation of international law. The practical consequence of this violation is that many children receive either limited, or no family visits. Please send urgent appeals demanding that children are not transferred out of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Urgent Appeal – (UA – 2/12) – Forcible transfer of children

 

PICKING CABBAGE IN BEIT HANOUN

                                                        

Today we went to Beit Hanoun to help the farmers to pick cabbage.   Its sounds like boring hard work, especially as it was raining quite hard off and on while we were there but actually it was a really enjoyable and interesting day.   When we arrived at the field we joined  a group of young farm labourers who made the morning very enjoyable with their singing, laughing and joking as we worked quickly to gather as many cabbage in a short period of time as possible.  The field we were working on was quite some distance from the fence, we only heard gunfire twice and didn’t feel directly targeted,  the jeep only showing itself once on the treeline before stopping behind a small hill in the distance.   We helped pile the motorized cart high with cabbage and chatted in the rain until the cars arrived to take us back into Beit Hanoun. 

While we were chatting one of the farmers talked about his Grandmother and the  stories she told him about her childhood here.  We were stunned when he told us that she had talked about being able to go from Beit Hanoun to Hebron in only half an hour in those days.  It was something we hadn’t thought about, when your in Gaza everywhere in the West Bank seems like such a long way away but when you think about it it makes sense, it’s actually only around 40km.  To get there today takes a minimum of 2 days with no stop, Beit Hanoun – Cairo-Round the Southern tip of the Sinai via Sharm El Sheikh to cross at Taba into Israel then on to Hebron.  That is of course if you are a privileged International, for a Palestinian there are a whole new set of problems.

Beit Hanoun is an interesting town, it’s directly across the border from Sderot.   A place I’ve heard of very often and met a couple of residents of but never had the chance to visit.  The countryside here is gently rolling low hills and as you leave Beit Hanoun to reach the fields you see Sderot in the distance. Built right up to the border, mainly  nestled in between two hills with some of the red roofed buildings of the town on top of one and a large army installation with radio towers on the other.  

Being so close to Sderot has meant that Beit Hanoun comes under huge pressure with all houses within one and a half miles of the border bulldozed, mainly in 2009 and all of the citrus trees which used to cover this landscape destroyed in order to leave clear lines of sight for the Israeli Military.  Every building facing Sderot shows serious damage from shelling bombing  and gunfire, and across  the town there are damaged houses.  Why is it that I had never heard of Beit Hanoun before I came to Gaza and yet Sderot is on the lips of every Israeli and everyone who defends the Zionist policies of Israel, ingraining it on everyone’s conciseness?   Perhaps because there are so many places in Gaza which have the same damage, the same experience of attack, destroyed homes and death due to Israeli Military action?  Whereas Sderot is special, in Israel it is the one place which has seen regular rockets causing some structural damage and very occasional death.  Is it too much to ask that the violent death or injury of a human being is treated with the same shock and grief whichever side of the border it’s on?  That the damage to lives and property is judged by the same standards wherever they occur? 

By Theresa in Gaza