“If we didn’t get the wheat planted today, we would not have had crops this year,” says Abu Saleh Abu Taima, eyeing the two Israeli military jeeps parked along the border fence east of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip. Although his land is more than 300 meters away, technically outside of the Israeli-imposed “buffer zone,” Abu Taima has reason to be wary.
“They shot at us yesterday. I was here with my wife and nephews.”
Like many farmers along Gaza’s eastern and northern borders, Abu Taima has been delayed planting by the absence of water and the threat from Israeli soldiers along the border.
With most of Gaza’s border region wells, cisterns and water lines destroyed by Israeli forces during last winter’s attacks, farmers have been largely left with no option but to wait for heavier rains.
“Israeli soldiers started intensively bulldozing the land in 2003. But they finished the job in the last war on Gaza,” says Hamdan Abu Taima, owner of 30 dunams (1 dunam is approximate to 1,000 square meters) dangerously close to the buffer zone.
Nasser Abu Taima has 15 dunams of land nearby. Another 15 dunams lie inaccessibly close to the border, rendered off-limits by the Israeli military. “My well was destroyed in the last Israeli war on Gaza. Five years ago I had hothouses for tomatoes, a house here, many trees. It’s all gone… >>>