Trans and Edited by Saed Bannoura, IMEMC

Residents of Al-Mawasi area, west of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, face daily hardships and violations, that make their daily life a misery.

The area was lately subjected to several attacks by settlers, who practiced against them all sorts of violations and aggressions aiming to terrify them and force them out of their homes and fields, in order to confiscate the fields and expand the settlements.

Settlements in the Gaza Strip are consuming the resources and fields of the area, depriving the residents from the natural resources and their fields, which negatively affects the agricultural sector, the main source of living, increasing poverty in the area, and barring the development of the agricultural sector and the area in general.

Apparently settlers’ attacks were not enough, the daily bulldozing of the agricultural fields, barracks and farms carried out by the army, accumulate the settlers’ attacks and increase the sufferings which the Palestinians have to face under occupation.

Settlers intensified their attacks against the residents and their fields in Al-Mawasy area, during the past week causing considerable damages.

Islam Al-Farra, a resident of Al-Mawasy, said that tens of armed settlers broke into his fields and farm, uprooted his plants, damaged tens of fruitful trees, and erected caravans.

Al-Farra said that a group of settlers erected caravans in fields which are owned by Yahia Al-Farra, from Khan Younis, and uprooted the plants and trees.

“We tried to stoop them, tens of farmers came to the fields and tried to stop the settlers from moving their caravans into them, but they used their automatic guns against us, they fired several rounds, uprooted the plants, destroyed water-pipes providing the fields with the needed water, and burnt a motor used for pumping water”, Al-Farra said.

The agricultural products of those fields are the only source of living which Yahia and his family has; yet, he has not been able to reach the fields for a long time as a result of military procedures and closure.

The attacks carried out by settlers are attempts to force the residents out, in order to confiscate what is left of their lands, and annex them to the settlement.

Al-Mawasy, 2km away from Kahn Younis, is surrounded by settlements, yet is also encircled by closure, checkposts and military camps.

The area has been under tight siege since the beginning of the Intifada more than four years ago; it only have one entrance known as “Al-Tuffah” checkpoint, were soldiers control the residents and close the checkpoint as they wish, whenever they want and for whatever reason they create!

Al-Mawasi area extends along the costal road for a distance of 12Km and 1km wide, from Dir Al-Balah, to Khan Younis until Rafah.

The area is inhibited by 9000 residents, 2000 among them are from Mawasi-Rafah area.

Among the agricultural sector in the Gaza Strip, Al-Mawasi is considered one of the most important agricultural areas in the Gaza Strip, were the residents depend on agriculture as the only source of living.

But this source is subjected to daily threats, under the wide sharp teeth of the “Sharks”; military bulldozers, from one side, and settler’s attacks and violations from the other.

Residents of the area, have to deal with the daily hard procedures on the checkpoints, daily attacks against their lands and homes, and huge losses, but they remain their, in their land and homes, or what is left of them!

Local institutions and NGO’s voiced appeals to the International Community, and International organizations specialized in human rights to aide them.

Yet, they remain there, and the daily hardships and violations remain there too!