text: Inge Neefs
28 November 2010 – ISM Gaza
The northern border area of the Strip is for the second day under attack of IOF snipers. Yesterday three people were shot, including a 12 year old boy, leaving one man in a critical condition. Today three more people were injured by Israeli gunfire while working in the buffer zone, amongst them was yet again a child. Mokles Jawad Al Masri (15), Mamdoe Ajesh Alsoes (20) and Mohamed Khalil Zanin (21) were shot in Beit Hanoun, north Gaza.
15 year old Mokles Jawad Al Masri was shot at 7 am this morning while collecting rubble at approximately 500 meters from Eretz Crossing. The boy was shot in the lower leg and is now hospitalized with a fractured bone in Beit Lahyia. According to the doctor recovery will take one to two months.
“Because of the siege, there are not many options for my family to survive. We are 17 at home and I provide food on the table by collecting and selling rubble. It’s dangerous and I only make 50 shekels a day, but it is the only thing I can do to help out.
I have one older brother, who is in his final year at secondary school. Me too I go to school, but I am only in grade nine; it is still easy, so I have more spare time than my older brother. He needs to concentrate in school to get good final results, so he can get a good job.”
Mokles regularly frequents the area around Eretz Crossing to go about his daily business as a scrap collector. Today he and a friend from the neighbors went out with a rented donkey cart when he was suddenly shot.
Mokles’ father used to work in Israel as a construction worker, but since 2003 the Israeli authorities did not allow him to travel to Israel anymore. Like 69 percent of the Gazan population, he is unemployed. According to OCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarion Affairs, the number of people living in abject poverty in Gaza has risen from 100,000 to 300,000 in the last two years.
“Every day we live in fear when he goes out to work. But it’s all we have… All the time we’re afraid for someone to come and alert us that Mokles has been arrested or shot by the soldiers ”, his father exclaims in despair.
A couple of hours later, around 9:30 am, IOF attacked again and made the second victim of the day; Mamdoe Ajesh Alsoes, age 20, was shot by snipers. Mamdoe was hit in the knee and left the hospital later that day.
Mohamad Khalil Zanin, age 21, was working his land when he heard a shot and saw someone being carried away in the distance. Approximately one hour later, at 10:30 am, he himself was shot too in the leg. Yet again, the shot was fired without any warning. The bullet exited his leg, but has left Mohamed with a comminuted fracture of the bone, requiring surgery: six metal pins are placed in his leg. Recovery will require six months to a full year, according to the doctor.
The family Khalil Zanin has farming land that runs close to the border, where they grow oranges and olives.
“I must have been at 130 meters from the fence. It is close, but this is our land. We have 100 olive trees that need caring. I come here often: this week I have been here every single day. For sure, the soldiers know me from their cameras. I don’t know why they did this to me.
I had just finished working and was making my way home when all of a sudden they shot me with an M16 gun. I couldn’t walk, so my friend had to carry me to a car to get to the hospital.”
With 21 years, Mohamed is the family provider for three young brothers and his parents. His father had a heart attack 13 years ago and is paralyzed to one side of the body.
“I don’t know what will happen now. No one is able to go to the land except for me. It’s the first time that they fire at me. But who knows what will happen? I don’t want people to risk their lives there neither.”
Today’s shootings bring the total amount of people injured while working in the buffer zone to 15 this month only.