12 July 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza
Three years of protests have come and gone in Beit Hanoun. Every week, for three years, the people of Beit Hanoun have come out to protest against the occupation, against the wall that prevents them from returning to their homes in ’48, against the buffer zone which prevents them from farming their land. Three years isn’t so long though, three years is only a blip in their sixty three year old struggle to return to their land. The people of Beit Hanoun have survived the Nakba, the Naqsa, the Occupation, Cast Lead, and still they have not given up. So every week, every Tuesday, for over three years now, they have marched into the buffer zone to visit their land which they are not allowed to farm, to remind the world that justice has still not been achieved.
We set off at 11 o’clock this morning. About 30 people, residents of Beit Hanoun, Gaza, internationals, set off toward the buffer zone. The sun was beating down, the flags were raised up high, Bella Ciao boomed from the loudspeaker. As always, the march starts out in high spirits, as we get closer to the buffer zone, everyone gets progressively tenser; eyes scan the wall and the hills more carefully. We enter the buffer zone, the dead zone, where every tree has been destroyed by the Israeli’s, where nothing is allowed to live without being attacked regularly by Israeli bulldozers. We stop a short distance inside the buffer zone. Sabur Zaineen from the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative gives a short speech, specifically against the collaboration of European governments in perpetuating the siege on Gaza, for stopping the Freedom Flotilla II. The loudspeaker is handed off to someone else and chants against the occupation echo out over the dead zone and toward the Israeli soldiers ensconced in their concrete towers. Hopefully, someone is listening; someone will pause for just a moment in their daily life and think about what a life without justice, what a life under siege feels like. Hopefully, that person will decide to fight for justice.