Thursday, April 19, 2012

Farming in Khuza'a

Today i went farming. It sound innocuous enough. Except i am in Gaza, and nothing is innocuous in Gaza.

We joined some farmers from Khuza'a who are harvesting the wheat crop. A farmer was shot near the buffer zone (not in it, near it!) on Monday, the first day of the harvest. The second day of the harvest a woman was shot in the same area. Thankfully, in both cases the victims survived with relatively minor injuries. We visited the woman and her family last evening. At that moment we decided we would join the family on their land today.

We arrived at the fields at about 7:30 am and the farmers told us the Israelis had already shot at them several times. We donned our yellow vests and walked to a woman who was working by herself approximately 50 meters from the buffer zone. We watched as an Israeli jeep arrived and hid behind an earthen berm. Two soldiers got in place at the top of the berm. This is exactly the scenario that took place the day before when the woman was shot, and just before we arrived this morning. We waited for the inevitable gunfire. i watched through my camera as the two soldiers looked toward our position. One then disappeared behind the berm. A few minutes later, the second soldier disappeared from view. As suddenly as they arrived, they departed. No shots were fired. The rest of the morning was uneventful. At one point another jeep arrived and hid behind the berm, moments later, it left as well. The presence of the Israeli military was prevalent as the jeeps continued up and down the fence line.

The farmers continued in their work unhindered. This was only a brief respite, clearly not a victory. Tomorrow we will farm again. It is certain that the soldiers will return as well.