27 January 2009
A young farm-worker, Arwan al Ibrim was murdered by Israeli military forces at approximately 9:45 am on Tuesday 27th January, in the village of Al Farahin, east of Khan Younis.
27 year old Arwan was working picking parsley and spinach in the village agricultural lands, approximately 700 m from the Green Line, when Israeli jeeps opened fire with machine guns from behind the Green Line – shooting more than 30 bullets in quick succession, eyewitnesses report. Many of the seven farmers working in the area scattered, taking shelter from the shower of bullets. Arwan, however, was shot in the neck, dying instantly.
Arwan had only recently returned to his job as an agricultural worker, after 6 months, as the area was considered to be too dangerous following the large-scale Israeli army invasion that took place there on 1st May 2008, and then the recent Israeli war on Gaza. Even though the area is still considered extremely dangerous, Arwan decided to return to work there in order to help buy medicine for his elderly, paralysed father. He was being paid just 20 shekels (approximately $6) a day to work there.
His mother laments that she and his father had begged him to stay home for breakfast, but Arwan refused, saying there was a lot of work to do, and that he wanted to get started before the Israeli army arrived and started shooting. Just two hours later, the family found out from the television that Arwan had been killed.
Later on the same day, in the city of Khan Younis itself, a young man riding a motorcycle was critically injured when he was fired upon from an Israeli drone. Hayan As Ser was taken to Nasser hospital where his condition reportedly remains critical.
These attacks came after one Israeli soldier was killed and three more injured when their jeep drove across a buried explosive near the Green Line, reportedly planted by Palestinian resistance fighters. However, despite claiming to have implemented a ceasefire from 2am on Sunday 18th January, Israeli forces have continued to shoot at civilians in villages close to the Green Line, including Al Farahin, on a daily basis.
In the nearby village of Khaza’a, Maher Abu Arjila, a 22 year old farmer was killed by Israeli soldiers shooting from behind the Green Line on 18th January, just hours after the ceasefire was supposed to come into effect. Another resident, Nabil an Najar, was injured when rubble fell on top of him as a result of soldiers shooting the building he was standing under.
On the evening of Sunday 25th January, Subhe Kdah, was also injured as Israeli soldiers shot into the village; and on Monday 26th January, residents report soldiers firing in the area of the United Nations school.
On the other side of the Gaza strip, Palestinian fishermen are also reportedly coming under fire on a daily basis, with one fishing boat captain, Ala al Habil, hospitalized with a gunshot wound to his lower leg, when he was shot at by an Israeli navy boat on the evening of Monday 26th. Another fishing-boat captain, Iyad al Hissi, was shot at repeatedly whilst in the wheel-house of a fishing boat that was less than one nautical mile from Gaza shore on Tuesday 27th. Witnesses say he managed to escape from the wheel-house without injury. In both cases, fishermen report that the Israeli navy boats were shooting to kill the captains.
While gunfire on Palestinian fishing boats was a daily occurance throughout the last so-called Israeli ceasefire, human rights workers who were accompanying fishermen during that period suggest that the situation now is even worse. “During the last ceasefire, the fishermen were getting shot at every day, but now it’s happening much closer to shore – within 1 or 2 miles of the shore”, remarked one international human rights worker.
These recent violations come in addition to the shelling of Gaza’s port area that continued for five days after the announcement of the ceasefire – which resulted in a number of casualties; as well as the shooting of 7 year old Ahmed Hassanian in the head; and the bombing of Amal area, east of Beit Hannoun,- killing one, wounding another – making a mockery of any claims to an Israeli cessation of fire.
“Where is the ceasefire?” Arwan’s elderly mother demanded angrily. “They said there was a ceasefire, but there is nothing!”