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Israeli military kills shepherd in Beit Lahya

24 December 2010 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza

Yesterday morning Salama Abu Hashish, 20 years, was herding his sheep and goats in Beit Lahya, in northern Gaza, when the Israeli Occupation Forces shot him without any warning. The bullet hit his back and went straight through one of his kidneys. He had surgery and was in the intensive care unit at Kamal Adwan Hospital, where he died at 5.30 pm. The IOF has not only taken a life away from the Abu Hashish family; it widowed a young woman and orphaned a baby that was only born the previous evening. Salama Abu Hashish had just become a father, but has not even been able to name his first born. Three more workers were injured in northern Gaza by Israeli bullets yesterday.

Yesterday’s attacks come amidst an escalating Israeli assault on workers in the border area: in the past five weeks alone, 40 people have been injured in the buffer zone, an Israeli military-declared no-go zone that runs along the Gazan side of the border in a swathe 300 to 500 meters wide. However, according to the United Nations, the “high risk” zone stretches up to 1000-1500 meters. The total area amounts to 35% of Gaza’s arable land. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, 84 workers have been injured and nine have been killed by the Israeli military since January 2010. Salama Abu Hashish is the tenth victim of Israel’s war on the border area in this year alone.

Riad Abu Hashish, the victim’s uncle, says that Salama regularly took his sheep and goats to the northern border area to graze. Yesterday, he was approximately 150 to 200 meters from the border when he was hit by an IOF sniper. As ambulances cannot reach the buffer zone without Israeli coordination, nearby scrap collectors carried Salama away on their donkey cart.

“This is all because of the occupation and the poverty it has brought to Gaza! He only risked going to the dangerous buffer zone, because there are no other possibilities for feeding his animals”, said Riad Abu Hashish in shock.

ISM Gaza calls for an immediate end of the shooting of innocent civilians, driven to such work by the illegal blockade and urges the international community to pressure Israel to end these attacks.