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Palestinian farmers, accompanied by international Human Rights Workers (HRWs), were fired upon by Israeli forces in the village of Khoza’a, near Khan Younis, this morning. The farmers and HRWs were attempting to work on land around 300m from the ‘Green Line’.
“We were accompanying farmers to gather peas from their lands. The farmers, for the most part, were elderly men and women with their sons. There were many farmers spread out over a large area. We were only in the fields for about five minutes before the Israeli forces began firing. I believe the firing was coming from four army jeeps and a hummer. The shots were coming very close, and were sniper-type of shots.
One old woman was so paralyzed by fear that she couldn’t move off of the ground before we were finally able to accompany her out of the fields. While the majority of the farmers left the area, some say they must return to work the land later on in the day. There is great concern that the Israeli army will continue their targeting of these farmers.” - Eva Bartlett (Canada) - International Solidarity Movement
“I have two children. I must go back to my fields to work there today. This is our life, what can we do?” - Mohammad Abu Jela, Farmer from Khoza’a.
Four Palestinian farmers have been shot by Israeli forces while working within 700m of the ‘Green Line’ since the 18th January 2009. On the 18th February, farm worker Mohammad Il Ibrahim, 20, was shot in the right leg as farmers, together with the international Human Rights Workers, attempted to leave the area having worked on their land for 2 hours in full view of the Israeli forces.
On the 18th January, Maher Abu-Rajileh (24) from Khoza’a village, was killed by Israeli soldiers while working on his land 400m from the Green Line. On the 20th January, Israeli soldiers shot Waleed al-Astal (42) of Al Qarara (near Khan Younis) in his right foot, while on the 27th January, Anwar al-Buraim was shot in the neck and killed.