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Elderly farmer murdered in Israeli airstrike in Buriej

26 August 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza

Ismail Nimr Ammoum worked his whole life as a farm laborer. He did not have land of his own, he worked for others, planting, watering, weeding, whatever needed done. He was a strong man, and he loved to work, work did not bother him. He kept working because he loved to work, what else would he do? He lived with his sister in Buriej, but often spent the nights sleeping wherever he was working. On Wednesday, August 24, 2011 Ismail was working for the Al-Khaldi family. He had spent the previous several days living in a small wood hut on the land. At five A.M. neighbors heard the explosion of an Israeli missile strike, but they thought that the land there was empty, they did not realize that Ismail had stayed the night in the hut. That afternoon, the owner of the land came to check up on things. When he arrived he noticed that everything things weren’t right, he opened the gate and then he saw the hut. He saw Ismail’s shattered body lying in the rubble. He had been killed in the missile strike.

Ismail’s father was from Lod. He was a refugee; his family was expelled from his home by Israeli soldiers in 1948. He fled to Gaza with his children, eventually they numbered eight, Ismail, four more sons, and three daughters. Ismail’s father is not here to mourn his son. Not because he died of old age, but because Israel killed him. He died during Cast Lead, one of the almost 1,500 Gazans murdered during those cruel three weeks. He was killed when Israel bombed the police station in Buriej.

We sit talking with Nasser, Ismail’s nephew; it is obvious that he respected his uncle Ismail. He misses his uncle, his uncle who was killed for no reason, just an old man who loved to work on the land. Nasser asks, “How can the world do nothing when innocent people are being killed, it must do something.” The world does nothing, and all that can be done in response to the world’s indifference, is, like Ismail, to get up again and go to work, to go to the land, to not abandon it, to carry on living.