2 August 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza
The buffer zone is a place of death. 300 meters of destroyed land, land that used to be alive, that used to be filled with orchards, houses, and fields, now, all dead. To enter the buffer zone is to risk your life, even to come close to it, the Israeli’s shoot farmers, shepherds, scrap collectors, anyone who comes close to the buffer zone is in danger. Every Tuesday, the people of Beit Hanoun attempt to bring the buffer zone back to life. They gather at the Agricultural College and march to the buffer zone.
Ramadan began on Monday, in honor of Ramadan, this week’s demonstration would involve going to the buffer zone to pray. We gathered, about thirty of us, under the hot sun. Thankfully, a breeze was blowing. It is summer in Gaza, and Ramadan is particularly hard this year, it isn’t easy to march under the hot sun while you are fasting. We walked to the buffer zone, newly bulldozed by the Israeli’s; our flag planted merely a week before, gone. The men laid down a white cloth, held it down with clumps of dirt, spread prayer rugs, and Abu Issa recited the call the call to prayer. It echoed over the buffer zone, joining the symphony of calls from Beit Hanoun. As the men prayed we looked around nervously, today was quieter than usual; maybe because of Ramadan there was none of the usual background noise of construction to repair previous Israeli destruction. After finishing prayers, we marched back to Beit Hanoun, at least for a little while, the buffer zone had been returned to life. For a short while, something lived in it, people prayed in it, may justice come soon.