Tuesday, January 29, 2008

PCHR: Narratives Under Siege #2 - Beit Hanoun, Northern Gaza Strip

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: "In order to highlight the impact of the siege and closure of the Gaza Strip on the civilian population, PCHR is publishing a series of "Narratives Under Siege." These short articles are based on personal testimonies and experiences of life in the Gaza Strip, and we hope they will serve to highlight the restrictions, and the violations, being imposed on the civilians of Gaza."

From Narratives Under Siege #2: Beit Hanoun, Northern Gaza Strip:
Jamal Swailem has lived in the same house all his life. He's now forty nine, and has 6 children, who are all at home with him and his wife. His father, Abu Jamal, who is ninety years old, has lived next door all his life. Another two brothers and their families live just metres away. Altogether, there are forty members of the Swailem family living in a row of four houses, almost adjacent to Erez Crossing. They own a small amount of land, around 17 donums, between them, and farm it together.

"We used to have citrus trees" says Jamal Swailem. "We had groves of orange and lemon and grapefruit trees, and guava as well, because the land here is very rich. Some of the trees were fifty years old. The first time the Israelis bulldozed our trees, we immediately re-planted all of them. When they bulldozed the trees again, we replanted them all again. They [the Israelis] damage and destroy, and we rebuild. This is our life. But the third time they bulldozed our trees, we decided to grow vegetables instead."
Read the entire report here >