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Palestinian child wounded by Israeli gunfire while harvesting potatoes in Gaza

17th December 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Rosa Schiano | Gaza, Occupied Palestine

(Photo by Rosa Schiano)

(Photo by Rosa Schiano)

On Sunday, 15th December, a young Palestinian was injured by Israeli gunfire in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip.

Mohammed el-Shanbary, age 17, was harvesting potatoes. “I went to work at 9 am,” el-Shanbary said. “After about 30 minutes, the soldiers started shooting.”

He was working with the owner of the land and another person about 500 meters from the wall that separates the Gaza Strip from territory occupied by Israel in 1948.

El-Shanbary and his father Rafiq think the bullets were fired from control towers situated along the separation barrier, inside of which there are automatic machine guns.

A bullet wounded El-Shanbary in his left shinbone. After he fainted, the landowner called his father and asked him to summon an ambulance. The ambulance took him to Kamal Odwan hospital.

The bullet entered and exited, causing a fracture. El-Shanbary would have surgery 30 minutes after our visit. The doctor said they would insert a tibial fixation.

El-Shanbary started working in the area one month ago. The work depends on the harvest season.

His father does not have a stable job, leaving el-Shanbary and his 21-year-old brother to work to support a family of ten.

He can earn from 25 to 40 shekels per day, depending on how many crates of potatoes he collects. For each crate, he receives two shekels.

“Some time ago, they were shooting just to scare us, not directly at our bodies,” el-Shanbary said.

“We work just to buy bread for our family, and they hit us,” his father Rafiq added.

The ceasefire of 21st November 2012 established that Israeli occupation forces should “refrain from hitting residents in areas along the border” and “cease hostilities in the Gaza Strip by land, by sea and by air, including raids and targeted killings.”

However, Israeli military attacks by land and sea followed from the day after the ceasefire, and Israeli warplanes fly constantly over the Gaza Strip. Seven civilians have been killed by Israeli occupation forces since the end of their last major offensive, “Operation Pillar of Defense,” and more than 130 have been wounded.

These attacks on the Gaza Strip continue amid international silence.