10 May 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, GazaThe Israeli army fired on 50 Palestinian and international activists protesting the Israeli-enforced closure of the “buffer zone” at Erez Crossing in Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip today.
The demonstration, organized by the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative, was joined by activists from the International Solidarity Movement – Gaza Strip.
Led by farmers and other Beit Hanoun community members, it was forced to withdraw by machine-gun fire after nearing the Israeli wall and its gun towers at 11:45 am.
As protesters retreated, bullets struck the ground around them.
“We are fighting for our rights. This is peaceful, popular resistance,” said Saber Al Zaaneen, Beit Hanoun Local Initiative coordinator. “They opened fire directly at the demonstrators. Thank God no one was injured. This shows the aggressive way Israelis deal with these demonstrations.”
The illegal “buffer zone” was originally established 50 meters into the Gaza Strip, according to the Oslo Accords, and has been unilaterally increased by Israel since then.
Now reaching 300 meters according to Israel, and often stretching up to 2 kilometers in practice, it prevents Gaza Strip residents from accessing large portions of their coastal territory, including 30-40% of its farmland, without grave danger.