These incidents — in which the Israeli army infiltrates the Gaza Strip, shoots at fishermen, confiscates their boats and fires at farmers near the border zone — they are part of daily life in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Hamas militants did not infiltrate the border between Israel and Gaza on Thursday morning. However, four Israeli military bulldozers did cross the border near Rafah in southern Gaza Thursday, Ma’an reported. On Wednesday, Israeli forces entered the northern Strip to neutralize a bomb, according to Ynet. The IDF Spokesperson did not provide a specific reason to for Thursday’s operation, aside from a claim of “suspicious activity.” The incident did not appear in the Hebrew media.
Neither Israeli military nor civilian boats were attacked near Gaza. Nevertheless, the Israeli Navy attacked a Gaza fisherman’s boat, causing it damage. The IDF Spokesperson did not comment on the event to either Ma’an or +972 Magazine. Like the previous incident, the attack was not mentioned in the Hebrew media.
Just two weeks ago, soldiers killed Tawfik Abu-Riala, a 34-year-old fisherman from Gaza. At first, the army reported that Abu-Riala left the six-mile maritime zone in which Israel allows Palestinians to fish. It later turned out, however, that Abu-Riala was well within the zone. Despite the unnecessary death, head of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ram Rothberg, decided that the firing was justified, and that no one would be put on trial for it. According to the al-Mizan Center for Human Rights, two fishermen have been killed by Israeli soldiers since the end of Operation Protective Edge, while at least 49 have been arrested, 17 wounded and 12 boats have been confiscated.
These incidents — in which the Israeli army infiltrates the Gaza Strip, shoots at fishermen, confiscates their boats and fires at farmers near the border zone — they are part of daily life in the besieged Gaza Strip. They are the everyday aspects of living in a giant prison controlled by Israel. But we barely hear about them.
It is obvious that if things were the other way around, and navy boats were being fired upon, or if Palestinians had crossed he border into Israel, the incidents would have been top news item on every news outlet. Not only that, it would have lead to a major public discussion on Palestinian aggression, the lack of a peace partner, whether the 2005 disengagement was smart move, the lessons of Protective Edge, etc.
The reports from Gaza that do reach us from time to time deal mostly with the digging of tunnels, rocket fire, and roadside bombs. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we hear about Palestinians who are trying to flee Gaza for Europe, or are trying to reach the border fence in order to sit in Israeli prison — since being in Israeli prison is sometimes preferable to a life of poverty in the prison called Gaza.
But we cannot understand the firing, the smuggling, the tunnels or the attempts to escape from the Strip without understanding the day-to-day life under siege, under Israeli control that requires a permit from Israel in order to build a home in Gaza, that restricts Palestinians to imports and exports through Israel alone (Gaza is forbidden from building its own port), that binds Gaza to Israeli electrical power (it is difficult to count the number of times the Gaza power plant has been bombed), and which compels every single person who wants to have a life outside the Strip — whether it is for the purpose of learning, or simply getting married and living in Turkey — to obtain a permit. Without all these, it will be very difficult to understand the coming war.
This article was first published on +972’s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.