April 29: “I think we will all be injured or die”

(Videoclip: Bianca and two young Gaza women shot on April 24. Eva’s write up of the event here on her blog.)

That was Vik’s text to me last night. I have known vaguely that the agricultural borderland demonstrations of the last weeks have been responded to by the Israeli army with volleys of live ammunition, and I haven’t been able to face setting aside my textbooks to read the reports, because how the hell do I pick them up again?

So somehow, until yesterday, I missed that Bianca, the young woman who also studied at my University, had been shot in the leg while she was filming the young people dancing on their land last week – her camera continues rolling as she falls – with two other young women, Hind (22) and Nidal (18) shot in the same few minutes. This was in the Maghazi area – you might recall that’s where Head Nurse Khalid and his family live. Then yesterday 19 year old Ahmed died as a result of the explosive bullet used on him. And the last few weeks have been just as bad – he is the 9th unarmed protester to be shot by the IOF in less than 1 month.

Vik texted, “You know how we were shot at with the farmers when you were here? Our worst (most dangerous) day then is the best day now.” In response to my texts, Eva reassured me that Bianca was recovering and the ISM group was together discussing how they could continue to best support the courageous people of the Gaza borderland.

Why isn’t this on the news? I don’t know what to do any more than you do. If you want to buy a copy of Gaza: Beneath the Bombs to send to your election candidates – with a strongly worded letter of your own that the UK should be condemning Israel’s attacking unarmed civilians with live ammunition – and the stealing of their land in the first place – then you can have one for cost plus postage. Please leave a message below. Telling their stories is all I’ve got to offer the people I love, from so far away, and some days that just breaks my heart.

From the ISM website:

Gaza Buffer Zone Background

Regular popular demonstrations are being are held in protest of the arbitrary decision by Israel to instate a 300 metre buffer zone as no-go area for Palestinians where “shoot to kill” policy is implemented. People have been shot regularly as far as 2 kilometres away from the border. Between January 20th 2009 (end of Israel’s war of aggression) and December 31st 2009, 166 Israeli attacks killed 37 persons and injured 69.

The buffer zone effects over 30% of Gaza’s farmland, and also restricts Palestinian fishermen to 3 nautical miles offshore. These restrictions severely impact the Gazan economy, with more than 675,000 (45%) now below the official poverty line and 325,000 (21%) unable to meet basic food needs.

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