FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Walking to the Buffer Zone

We marched to the buffer zone with about 20 others including members of the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative who have been organizing non-violent demonstrations for the past three years, as well as several members of GYBO (Gaza Youth Break Out). Carrying flags and alternately chanting, singing and walking in silence we approached the Israeli border. This is a no go zone for Palestinians. Israel has deemed that 300 meters from the wall is a buffer zone, so Palestinian farmland is taken away.

Waving flags and chanting we reached the edge of the buffer zone and continued walking. Almost immediately, dust kicked up just ahead of us, a warning shot rang out. We stopped, daring to go no further. Climbing a small embankment we waved our Palestinian flags and chanted to the soldiers hidden in the guard towers. Not five minutes passed and 2 shots rang out, one kicking up dust at our feet. 19 year old Mohammed Kafarna grabbed his neck, turned, and ran back in the direction we had come. He had been hit with shrapnel.

That effectively ended the demonstration; we turned and headed back toward the village. I was stunned that two dozen people could pose such a threat to Israel that the army would resort to using live rounds of ammunition against us. Of course, we were not a physical threat, I imagine the Israeli soldiers laughed at us as we turned and headed back. But non-violent demonstrations do cause a threat, especially when people walk to the wall and demand access to their land, their olive trees, their resources, and their homes. Israel has only one method to disperse non-violent demonstrators and that is through violent repression.

We often hear of Israel’s need for security, yet the people of Gaza are under occupation by the state of Israel and no one utters a word about their security. For years Palestinians have been killed with impunity, always with the words “Israel has a right to security.”  Over the weekend after dozens of unarmed protesters were killed by Israeli forces in the Golan, Netanyahu declared, ‘Unfortunately, extremist forces around us are trying today to breach our borders and threaten our communities and our citizens. We will not let them do that’. The Israeli military said troops fired warning shots into the air after people started approaching the border fence, then issued verbal warnings to protesters to stay away. After some of the protesters reached the fence, soldiers opened fire, ‘with precision’, at their legs. Amongst the dead was a 24 year old woman Enis Shriteh, a fourth year English student. There was no explanation on how she got confused with ‘extremist elements’. There was no explanation of how shots to demonstrator’s legs killed her. There was no questioning of Israeli statements at all. Enis Shriteh’s death did not warrant mention in the mainstream press.

Certainly no one in our group was an extremist, nor were we a threat, merely Palestinian youth and international supporters trying to reach Palestinian land. There is no denying this: Gaza is a jail and Israeli soldiers are the jailers. Imprisoned without charges, the people of Gaza are trapped. Israel would have the world believe they are beneficent and kindly jailers, desperately seeking peace. This is a lie. Gaza is under siege.

You don’t believe me? Come, we’ll walk with the people of Beit Hanoun down to the buffer zone.

Johnny Barber has traveled to Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Lebanon to bear witness and document the suffering of people who are affected by war. He has just returned from Jordan & Syria where he worked to document the issues facing Iraqi refugees. He can be contacted through his blog at www.oneBrightpearl-jb.blogspot.com

Limited Time Special Offer!
Get CounterPunch Print Edition By Email for Only $25 a Year!

More articles by:

Johnny Barber writes on the Middle East. He can be reached at: dodger8mo@hotmail.com

January 16, 2019
Patrick Bond
Jim Yong Kim’s Mixed Messages to the World Bank and the World
John Grant
Joe Biden, Crime Fighter from Hell
Alvaro Huerta
Brief History Notes on Mexican Immigration to the U.S.
Kenneth Surin
A Great Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons
Elizabeth Henderson
Why Sustainable Agriculture Should Support a Green New Deal
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, Bolton and the Syrian Confusion
Jeff Mackler
Trump’s Syria Exit Tweet Provokes Washington Panic
Barbara Nimri Aziz
How Long Can Nepal Blame Others for Its Woes?
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: When Just One Man Says, “No”
Cesar Chelala
Violence Against Women: A Pandemic No Longer Hidden
Kim C. Domenico
To Make a Vineyard of the Curse: Fate, Fatalism and Freedom
Dave Lindorff
Criminalizing BDS Trashes Free Speech & Association
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party: Part Two
Edward Curtin
A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot
January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail