Trending Topics:

‘The Israelis never stopped shooting’: Gaza endures under Israel’s one-way ceasefire

Israel/Palestine
on 17 Comments

Walking through a field of peas in the buffer zone, 60-year-old Palestinian farmer Jaber Abu Rujeila pointed to the fence that demarcates the border with Israel and where military vehicles regularly patrol. “If the jeeps stop, run,” he warned. “They’ll shoot.”

The buffer zone is an Israeli-declared no-go area that stretches a few hundred meters into Gaza. Anyone who sets foot inside can be fired upon. This includes much of Gaza’s agricultural land, making simple farm labor a potentially deadly mission.

“The Israeli side calls this a ceasefire,” Abu Rujeila remarked. “Every day they shoot at me and then they talk about the ceasefire.”

Tank shells from last summer’s war on Gaza litter his land in al-Faraheen, an area in the village of Khuza’a which was besieged by Israeli forces for ten days last summer. Abu Rujeila’s kitchen and bathroom were destroyed, and today they remain in the condition they were almost a year ago.

Farmer Jaber Abu Rujeila stands in his fields in the buffer zone. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Farmer Jaber Abu Rujeila stands in his fields in the buffer zone. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

For Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the period since last summer’s war has been a one-way ceasefire. While Palestinian armed factions have observed the ceasefire, with a handful of exceptions, Israel has violated the ceasefire on a near-daily basis. Soldiers fire at farmers in the buffer zone, gunboats shoot at fishermen, and warplanes and drones are a regular sight over Gaza’s skies. In the period of January through March of 2015, conservative estimates tallied 67 Israeli shootings and six military incursions, resulting in the death of one Palestinian and injuries to sixteen.

Yet these Israeli ceasefire violations are completely omitted by popular western media coverage, amounting to a de-facto vow of silence. This media blackout has become as predictable as the shootings themselves — they are another part of the maintenance of the occupation.

And this media silence has consequences. All signs point to another major military operation in Gaza, and Israeli military and political figures threaten that it will be even more catastrophic than the last. The media silence that cloaks Israeli ceasefire violations serves to portray the next round as defensive in nature — an exercise in Israel’s proclaimed “right to self-defense.”

While Israel gears up for another war, the victims of last summer’s offensive haven’t recovered. After the decimation of neighborhoods like Shujaiya, Palestinian civilians have lived in perpetual crisis. While the Israeli shells that damages or destroyed 100,000 homes have ceased falling, survival in the rubble has been a struggle.

Rania Al-Kheysi sits with her two daughters Sona and Janat next to the crib of the brother Wadie who froze to death this winter. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Rania Al-Kheysi sits with her two daughters Sona and Janat next to the crib of the brother Wadie who froze to death this winter. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Sitting on a bed in their half-standing Shujaiya home, Rania a-Kheysi’s daughter rocked the empty crib where they found her six-month-old son Wadie’s body. Born last summer during the war, Wadie froze to death — a casualty that will not be included in the war’s official death count. In freezing winter temperatures, rain and wind whipped through the al-Kheysi’s blown out walls. Unable to find adequate warmth, Wadie succumbed to the elements. “I can’t forget him,” Rania al-Kheysi said with tears streaming down her cheeks as she recounted discovering her infant son’s corpse. “He’s on my mind every minute. It’s like a part of my heart went away. His sisters always ask me ‘Where is Wadie? I want to wear his clothes and sleep in his bed.’”

In Ashkelon, a coastal city a just north of the Gaza border, Jewish Israelis seemed to be living as insulated from the violence Gaza as pundits across the Atlantic Ocean.

“No, I don’t want to talk, but don’t you know that Hamas broke the ceasefire” one woman replied when I asked for her evaluation. She was surprised by the question, as if it were a given that Hamas had broken the ceasefire. “Are you Jewish,” she asked me, as if that were relevant to the topic.

Ashkelon resident, and Shekem Electric employee, Stan Goldin. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Ashkelon resident, and Shekem Electric employee, Stan Goldin. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Standing in front of the Shekem Electric appliance store in an Ashkelon strip mall, salesperson Stan Goldin, 28, stood and smoked a cigarette. “They violated the ceasefire long ago,” he asserted. “For you as a foreigner [who is] not from here, you think Hamas and Palestinians and Arabs are three different bodies, but it’s only one single [body]: it’s Arabs. All of them.”

Like the woman before, Goldin had little grasp of the reality surrounding him. His apparent comfort in espousing racist vitriol while representing his workplace spoke to the endemic racism that Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to when he called on Jews to vote against Palestinian citizens of Israel, winning the national election.

Back in Shujaiya, Rania al-Kheysi’s father-in-law Moaeen sat in front of a fire in his partially standing home. “We wake up every night to the sound of shooting,” he said. “The Israelis never stopped shooting at us but Palestinians aren’t shooting them. We want the ceasefire to be from both sides, not just one side.”

Dan Cohen
About Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen is an independent journalist and filmmaker based in Palestine. He tweets at @dancohen3000.

Other posts by .


Posted In:

17 Responses

  1. just
    just
    May 5, 2015, 10:57 am

    I am so grateful that you brought this story here to MW, Dan. I have been following you @ twitter during and since the latest massacre in Gaza. Your work, though indescribably difficult, is priceless.

    Thank you.

  2. talknic
    talknic
    May 5, 2015, 11:23 am

    “In Ashkelon, a coastal city a just north of the Gaza border”

    Question: Can anyone tell me how, when and by agreement with whom, the territory of the southern most part of where now Ashkelon sits was legally acquired by Israel?

    https://youtu.be/blrspfAOpvg

    Arab State – From the southern point of intersection the boundary lines run north-westwards between the villages of Gan Yavne and Barqa to the sea at a point half way between Nabi Yunis and Minat El-Qila , and south-eastwards to a point , whence it turns in a south-westerly direction, passing to the east of the built-up areas of Es Sawafir Esh Sharqiya and ‘Ibdis. From the south-east corner of ‘Ibdis village it runs to a point southwest of the built-up area of Beit ‘Affa, crossing the Hebron-El-Majdal road just to the west of the built-up area of ‘Iraq Suweidan. Thence it proceeds southward along the western village boundary of El-Faluja to the Beersheba Sub-District boundary. http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/un/res181.htm

    MORE : http://wp.me/pDB7k-tM#isdud-vs-ashdod

    Jewish State – The Beersheba area comprises the whole of the Beersheba Sub-District, including the Negeb and the eastern part of the Gaza Sub-District, but excluding the town of Beersheba and those areas described in respect of the Arab State. It includes also a strip of land along the Dead Sea stretching from the Beersheba-Hebron Sub-District boundary line to ‘Ein Geddi, as described in respect of the Arab State. (ibid)

    MORE : http://wp.me/pDB7k-tM#beersheba

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      May 5, 2015, 4:10 pm

      Talknic, given that none of the territory claimed by the illegal Zionist entity “was legally acquired by Israel” anywhere at any time in history, I suggest forgoing that type of question, as if any territory were at any time under legitimate Israelian sovereignty. One should think of the consequences of even suggesting this.

    • michelle
      michelle
      May 5, 2015, 6:07 pm

      .
      Israel and legal in the same sentence honestly
      might as well add
      Israel and;
      community
      equality
      justice
      truth
      peace
      love
      G-d

      .
      one can dream
      .
      what would life/the world have been like if Israel was who ‘they’ say they are
      .
      G-d Bless
      .

  3. talknic
    talknic
    May 5, 2015, 11:30 am

    ooops Why is the video so BIG?

    • eljay
      eljay
      May 5, 2015, 11:38 am

      || talknic: Question: Can anyone tell me how, when and by agreement with whom, the territory of the southern most part of where now Ashkelon sits was legally acquired by Israel? ||

      I’d also like to know why Gaza is a legitimate military target but Ashkelon – which is home to Ashot Ashkelon Industries, a producer of military equipment and munitions (including cluster munitions) – conveniently is not.

  4. hmp49
    hmp49
    May 5, 2015, 12:39 pm

    “The buffer zone is an Israeli declared no-go land that stretches several hundred meters into Gaza. Anyone who sets foot inside can be fired upon. This includes much of Gaza’s agricultural land.”

    Much of Gaza’s agricultural land is within “several hundred meters” of the border? Seriously?

    There’s a reason it’s a no-go zone, and the Palestinians have themselves to thank for that. Simple solution – don’t go withing 200 meters (650 feet) of the fence.

    • talknic
      talknic
      May 5, 2015, 1:16 pm

      @ hmp49

      “Much of Gaza’s agricultural land is within “several hundred meters” of the border? Seriously?”

      Rationale behind your challenge? Oh. You forgot to include a rationale? You don’t have a rationale perhaps

      “There’s a reason it’s a no-go zone, and the Palestinians have themselves to thank for that”

      Rationale? You forgot again…

      “Simple solution – don’t go withing 200 meters (650 feet) of the fence”

      Why? You forgot a rationale again! It’s not a demilitarized zone, the IDF are there shooting into Palestinian territory. It’s not the border. It’s not Israeli territory either side of the fence. It’s only an Armistice Demarcation Line. Israelis can go right up to the fence. Why not Palestinian civilians?

      A simpler solution would be for Israel to withdraw from ALL non-Israeli territories for once. It has never been tried.

    • jaspeace2day
      jaspeace2day
      May 5, 2015, 3:10 pm

      Too many intelligent people here for you to lay your shekel paid for load of crap on. But it’s nice to see how ignorance abounds in the minds of the occupying israeli jew in Palestine.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      May 5, 2015, 4:16 pm

      The people of Gaza have the right to be anywhere in Palestine, while the Zionist invaders don’t. Additionally, an occupying army has no right to intervene anywhere to curtail the natural right, as sanctioned by international law, of the occupied people to defend itself by any means judged necessary. Basically, Zionist troops or other occupation personnel have no right to defend themselves, while the invaded Palestinian population has. I realize this is a bit of a problem for an occupation army because there is no way to make its status “legal”, no matter the wordy paperwork.
      Decent human beings would at least avoid trying to openly defend war crimes.

  5. Kris
    Kris
    May 5, 2015, 1:00 pm

    @hmp49: “There’s a reason it’s a no-go zone, and the Palestinians have themselves to thank for that.”

    Could you tell us the “reason,” with some links to reputable sources?

    Here’s a reputable source that informs us that “The area in which entry is dangerous – the space extending 1,500 meters from the perimeter fence – comprises about 35 percent of the land in the Gaza Strip that is suitable for farming. Closing these areas harms the income and routine of tens of thousands of farmers and their dependants.” http://www.btselem.org/gaza_strip/forbidden_zones

    How is 35 percent of agricultural land not a significant amount? Though it doesn’t really matter how much land is involved, the point is that the Israelis are stealing it and preventing the rightful owners access to it.

    It appears that the Israelis are simply continuing their ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, stealing more Palestinian land and resources, and allowing the racist IDF troops to entertain themselves by killing more Palestinan farmers.

    Google is your friend; check it out.

  6. Kay24
    Kay24
    May 5, 2015, 4:39 pm

    OT but it is very interesting: Mitch McConnell breaks away from the hawks which would help pass Iran resolution more easily.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/05/mitch-mcconnell-iran_n_7215178.html

  7. Bornajoo
    Bornajoo
    May 5, 2015, 7:13 pm

    Thanks Dan Cohen

    The remarks of the Israelis in your short interviews are very similar to what my family in israel (and many here in the UK) always say. Most of them are brainwashed racists too.

    • ziusudra
      ziusudra
      May 6, 2015, 3:40 am

      Greetings Bornajoo,
      …my Family…..
      Bornajoo if you think that you, seafoid, just, Walid & many others are just normal & everybody has your awareness of reality, then think again.
      I remember telling me mum in 65 that i would be going to Germany.
      She like the rest of my Family thought i was crazy because fighting of WWII was still going on! It’s unbelievable what goes on mythologically in pre socratic thinking in the minds of most with normal intelligence.
      Most people have the normal capacity to understand everything, but revert constantly back to mytholgical tribal thinking. This make things so easy for people like Netanyahu, his name & deeds be condemned.
      ziusudra

  8. just
    just
    May 6, 2015, 7:38 am

    From the mire of Israel’s inherent racism, apartheid, filthy Occupation, inequality, and self- proclaimed supremacy:

    “Netanyahu caves in, slated to give justice portfolio to MK Ayelet Shaked”

    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Netanyahu-caves-in-slated-to-give-Justice-portfolio-to-MK-Ayelet-Shaked-402244?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

  9. lonely rico
    lonely rico
    May 11, 2015, 3:38 am

    Interesting (and depressing) Counterpunch article by PAUL de ROOIJ –

    Criminalizing Palestinian Resistance
    Amnesty International: Whitewashing Another Massacre

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/08/amnesty-international-whitewashing-another-massacre/

Leave a Reply