Internatonal Solidarity Movement
1 March 2010
Thirty activists from the Local Initiative Beit Hannoun and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) participated in the weekly demonstration asking for Palestinian land to be returned to its rightful owners. The activists gathered at the site of the University College for Agriculture which now lies in rubble following air attacks during operation Cast Lead.
The activists walked towards the Erez border chanting “Down with the Occupation” and “With my life and soul I will free you Palestine”. The activists reached 50 meters from the border and there Saber Zanin, Director of Beit Hannoun Local Initiative, spoke about the hardships farmers face on a daily basis as they attempt to plough and farm their land. Farmers risk being shot at either by Israeli snipers or from the automated tower machines which line the Gaza-Israel border zone. Speaking in Hebrew to the Israeli soldiers present within the watch tower, Zanin explained to them that the crowd was gathered on Palestinian land and that they had a right to be there by international law.
Zanin referred to the new regulation created by Israel upon Gaza that no person could come closer than 300 metres from the border. In reality, human rights groups within Gaza have documented that farmers have been shot at 2 km from the border.
As the demonstration came to a close and the activists started making their way back, shots were fired very close to the activists. A member of the ISM spoke to the Israeli soldiers through a microphone and asked the soldiers why they were firing upon civilians. The soldiers continued to fire as the group left. Seven shots were fired in all.