Monday, June 11, 2012

Ordinary life in Gaza: could you hack it?

Johnny Barber, an American who was in Gaza recently, took this picture of the family of a young woman who was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers as she gathered wheat.

"The bullet just scraped her forehead. She was very lucky. To get a flesh wound from an M16 bullet," he said.

Palestinain Woman-struck-by-Israeli-shot

Farmers are afraid to approach their fields along the border, but they have no choice but to get their wheat. They  harvest wheat by hand while Israeli soldiers on a hillock at a fence 300 yards away fire guns in the harvesters' direction, harassing them.

In this case, Barber saw a  brave international volunteer for the International Solidarity Movement wearing a red fluorescent vest rise above the stands of wheat and use a microphone to say over and over, "These are farmers on their own land. They are only harvesting their wheat."  The shots kept whizzing across the field.

Why are the Palestinians harvesting by hand? Because when they bring tractors, they get shot up. So they use machetes.

Here is another of Barber’s photos: fishermen on the coast of Gaza.

Palestinain Angry-fisherman-Gaza-2

Under Oslo, Gaza fishermen were to have 20 miles to fish. But they have been limited to three miles by Israeli warships that harass them with fire.

This captain is upset. His friend holds out bullets. Barber said:

"The Israelis shot up his boat engine, destroying it. He is saying that the 5 men on his boat were fishing with hand-lines at 2-and-a-half miles when they were attacked and the engine was destroyed. He is saying it will cost 20,000 shekels ($5,000) to replace the engine. But these men make 5 to 10 shekels a day fishing. So now he can't go out. And a total of 50 people depend on the men who go fishing in his boat."

(The examples above, and some of the text, are taken with permission from an article called Restraint by Philip Weiss on the website Mondoweiss.)

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