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Time in Palestine

Bearing the brunt again – children killed in buffer zone

October 9, 2009 

[Ramallah, 8 October 2009]

BTBACoverOn Sunday, 4 October 2009, it was reported in the media that a Palestinian child had been shot on his family’s farm in the north of the Gaza Strip, near the border with Israel. It is reported that the child was shot in the spine and is now recovering in hospital, having first been denied access to medical care.

Israel has established a so called ‘buffer zone’ inside Gaza, a closed military zone which runs the entire length of the border. Since the end of the Israeli offensive in January 2009, this ‘no go’ area has been extended 300 metres into Gaza, although the killing of civilians has been reported up to one kilometer from the border.

The UN estimates that the buffer zone consumes approximately 30 percent of Gaza’s arable farmland, at a time when there is a near-total Israeli blockade of the territory. With limited options, farmers and their families are compelled to risk their lives in order to gather food from their lands in and around this killing zone.

The event on Sunday is by no means an isolated incident. On 4 September 2009, 12 year-old Ghazi al-Za’aneen was killed on his family’s land near the border in Beit Hanoun. According to first information gathered by DCI-Palestine, Ghazi was with his family and friends, including eight other children, collecting figs about 700 metres away from the border, when they were fired upon by Israeli soldiers.

Since the end of Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, DCI-Palestine can confirm that at least seven Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli Military, inside Gaza.

DCI-Palestine expresses grave concern that Palestinian men, women and children will continue to be killed in the buffer zone unless:

  • Israel amends its rules of engagement relating to the buffer zone; and
  • Israel ends the blockade of the Gaza Strip and allows unrestricted humanitarian access.

If you would like to take action, please consider lobbying your elected representatives and urge that pressure be applied on the Israeli authorities to cease the practice of firing upon civilians in the Gaza buffer zone and to end the blockade.

For further information about Operation Cast Lead, please see DCI-Palestine’s latest report – Bearing the Brunt Again: Child Rights Violations during Operation Cast Lead (September 2009).