In spite of his pain, after sustaining a gunshot injury in his leg, resident Nasser Wafi, from Khan Younis and his family, felt happy that he is still alive, and among his family members.

The incident took place on Saturday June, 18, 2005, when Wafi was at the beach in al-Mawassi area, west of Khan Younis; settlers attacked him and a group of residents, and fired at him from a close range.

Wafi was at the beach area with his friend Mohammad al-Majayda, when dozens of settlers attacked the area and fired at them.

“it was evening, we were sitting at the beach, the weather was really nice, but then a group of settlers attacked us and started punching and kicking us, when we tried to defend ourselves, one of them opened fire and shot me in my right thigh, my friend Mohammad sustained bruises and concussions in his head”,  Nasser said.

“The soldiers were present in the area, but they didn’t attempt to stop the settlers, I remained on the ground, bleeding for 30 minutes until a Palestinian ambulance managed to reach the area and transferred me and my friend to the hospital”, Nasser added.

The ambulance was delayed at al-Tuffah checkpoint while transferring them to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, while soldiers were searching it ignoring the fact the two wounded residents, bleeding, and need to be transferred urgently to the hospital.

Wafi, who was injured for the first time at the beginning of al-Aqsa Intifada, said that the residents of al-Mawassi area, which was completely closed by the army since September 2000, live under very harsh conditions, repeated invasions and shelling, yet settlers attacks against the area accumulates the suffering of the residents.

Settlers increased their attacks against al-Mawassi after the Israeli Prime Minister announced his Disengagement Plan, and carried out several shootings, and assaults against the Palestinian residents, their homes, and even attacked and fired at schools which belong to the UNRWA.  

“Recently the settlers started deploying in the farmlands, streets, waving their automatic guns, waiting for the first prey to appear, and hunt it”, Wafi added.

Yasser Abdul-Ghafour, a field researcher of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, said that several violations were reported in al-Mawassi, after groups of settlers repeatedly attacked school students, broke into a harbor and robbed fishing and boating equipment.

One and half months ago, settlers attacked dozens of school students in al-Mawassi, fired at them, and threw some of them at barbed wires; several students were injured while the Israeli army failed to probe the assault.

Khan Younis Governor, Hoseny Zo’rob, said that the attacks carried out by the settlers aim to create a reaction from the Palestinian side, and break the ceasefire agreement in order to drag the area into a new cycle of violence to foil disengagement.   

Yet, the residents of al-Mawassi are still surrounded from all directions, settlements, military camps, and full military closure over their area over the last four and half years, while settlers are acting with free hand against defenseless residents, surrounded even in their homes.

They are still there, in there homes, placed “under arrest” after their area became a surrounded zone, closed and choked by military camps.

 Source, WAFA