28 October 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza
Witnesses in Gaza today reported an escalation of Israeli aggression in the Khuza’a – Abasan, governate of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip. The Israeli army also shot at two ISM activists and local children.
Israeli tanks entered Gaza this morning, from approximately 7.30 to 8.30, moving from the village of Faraheen to Khuza’a. Residents reported hearing numerous gun shots. Suzanne, who lives in the north of Khuza’a, confirmed that in recent days, Israeli tanks have entered Gaza on a daily basis. Another women, Taragi, who lives in the south of Khuza, also confirmed that Israeli gunfire has become more frequent.
The Israeli army shot at two ISM activists and two Palestinian children just in front of them today at approximately 4.30 p.m. as they walked on the road towards the school in the village of Khuza’a, approximately 500 meters from the border. At the time, the area was populated by children and youths, some on foot and others in a cart pulled by a donkey. They were just driving along the road to go home. Without warning of any kind, the Israeli army fired two shots, close enough to the heads of those walking down the street to hear the distinct and strong hiss of the bullets that passed through the air.
Khuza’a is a small farming village and the area around it is not new to raids and attacks by the Israeli army. The school in particular is just a few hundred meters from the border and often children are forced to return home because of gunfire. One village girl lost her kneecap after she was shot by an Israeli bullet as she was walking back home from school. The Israeli army bulldozed the fruit trees in the area ten years ago. Today, Palestinians in Khuza’a cultivate mainly wheat, which requires less attention, so as to avoid being attacked by the Israeli army.
Israeli committed horrific atrocities in Khuza’a during Operation Cast Lead. The majority of the population was forced to leave the village and suffered heavy attacks from white phosphorus. Eight civilians have been deliberately killed in a bombing in the center of the village during the casefire, between them a child. It was in Khuza’a where the Israeli army shot Roya’a Al Najar when she held a white flag while attempting to leave her house after days of siege, and Yasmeen Al Najar and Mahmmod Al Najar while trying to help her.