Above, April: Israel destroys the crops…a month before they come back to kill the animals.
Readers of my blog will remember getting to know Jaber and Leila and their six kids, just one farming family who dodge bullets to try to grow food for Gaza, resulting in a broken foot for Leila last year. You’ll remember they have had to rent a second village house because their farmhouse, less than 500 metres from the Israeli fence, is too full of bullet holes to keep the kids safely in. You’ll remember the destruction wreaked upon their farm already by the Israeli army during the last two 08/09 major incursions.
Last week, Eva was writing about them on her blog:
And dispossessions continue. Since 1967, Israel has demolished more than 24,000 Palestinian homes in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, says the Israeli Committee Against Housing Demolitions (ICAHD).
“I still come back to the house to work a small piece of my land that is 700 metres from the border. But even then I get shot at by the Israelis,” says Jaber Abu Rjila. His home and poultry farm east of Khan Younis lie just under 500 metres from the border. They were destroyed in a May 2008 Israeli invasion into the farming community. Soon after, the family fled, renting a house to escape the regular Israeli attacks.
On May 18, Israeli soldiers set land near Rjila’s fields on fire, burning the wheat crops of the Abu Tabbash family. The Nakba is not just about memory.
Then yesterday I had a message from Vik that disaster had hit the family again. He included a clip he and Eva had recorded in late April of tanks escorting bulldozers across the fence onto Jabr’s land, and then guarding them while they ploughed up his crops. “On Saturday, the bulldozers came back.” he said. I went to Eva’s blog for more:
On 21 May 2010, Israeli bulldozers destroyed Jaber Abu Rjila’s remaining chicken farm, killing 150 chickens, 200 pigeons, 60 rabbits, and 5 sheep, and destroying 3 tons of wheat and rye as well as an estimated 10,000 shekels worth of onions, said Rjila. The land in question is over 600 metres from the border fence.
The Israeli bulldozers also destroyed a home roughly 1 km from the border. 14 people lived in the house, including a man who was ready to marry and bring his bride to the home.
On Saturday, while we were enjoying the sun, Jabr and his family watched everything they had left, crushed in front of them. I phoned them, stretching to remember enough Arabic to convey how sorry I was. “Praise be to God.” said Leila.