Farming in Gaza - Aftermath of war - PhMuseum

Farming in Gaza - Aftermath of war

Jost Franko

2014

In the land from where the eyes can see the Israeli border, Palestinian farmers try to make their living producing agricultural goods such as strawberries, oranges, grapefruits, olives, various vegetables, etc. The war in 2014, that lasted almost two months, has left the majority of Gazan farmers living in the buffer zone with their houses demolished or their land bulldozed – in worst cases, both. In 50 days long war that Israel called “Operation Protective Edge” more than 2200 Palestinian lives were lost and about 17.200 homes totally destroyed, after 20,000 tons of explosive had been dropped on Gaza.

After the war, I decided I should return to Gaza, to work with the same families I’ve worked with last year, and the comparison was devastating. Some neighborhoods were unrecognizable, leveled to the ground. Every morning before going to the field and re-meet the families, I had a very bad feeling in my gut, and it was usually there for a reason – almost all of the families have lost their home. They were forced to move to UNRWA schools and live in overcrowded classrooms, or other shelter homes. “I’ve been through dozens of wars, I’ve witnessed everything. Our home was always affected, but not to this dimensions,” Mohammed Abu Daqqa recalls. “But when I hear stories from others, I’m just thankful my family is alive,” he says.

Mohammad, whose home was bombed severely wanted to build a shelter in front of his house, but with the winter coming, they cannot stay outside.

Khalil Zaanin, a farmer and father of three, has told me, that after the whole Beit Hanoun area had to be evacuated, they found shelter with their friends in Gaza City. “I felt like I’m living in a 5 star hotel in comparison to the people who had to move to UNRWA schools,” Khalil recalls. Overcrowded classrooms, where several families live in less than 15 square meters, reminiscent of a prison.

Khalil’s farm was bulldozed and hit several times by F-16 missiles. His water well was ruined and it took him a month to repair it. During my 2013 visit in the same time of the year, Khalil and his workers were already harvesting the plants. This year, they have nothing to harvest. “It’s a life with no guarantees what so ever… whether you have plans or not, it doesn't matter,” says Khalil.

During this period of a year (November), it’s olive harvesting season. This year, instead of harvesting, Samir Al Daberi from Rafah, had to hire workers to help him cut and remove the completely destroyed olive tree plantation from his land.

“We’re just farmers. We know nothing about politics, we just farm,” mrs. Abu Ghazal from Beit Hanoun pointed out.

{{ readMoreButton }}

  • Samir Al Daberi is seen walking in his bulldozed land near the buffer zone in Rafah, southern Gaza, Palestine, on Nov. 6th 2014.

    Samir got his leg amputated during the second war in Gaza. His farm in Rafah was bulldozed during the war in 2014, so he had to hire workers to remove ruined olive trees.

    Al Daberi used to live in the farm, but their house was destroyed during the last war, so they had rent another home.

  • Khalil Zaanin and his nephew Meera are seen walking in the rouble of his relatives home, next to his house in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, Palestine, on Oct. 28th 2014.

    Khalil Zaanin's farm was hit several times by an F-16 missiles and bulldozed completely by the Israeli army, during the war in 2014. His water well was destroyed and it took him a month to repair it.

    His house, which is located directly at the Erez border crossing, the only border crossing with Israel, was partially ruined.

    Khalil says that it is a life of no guarantees what so ever, you cannot plan anything. In 2008 he decided not to invest in the house anymore, because during every conflict, the houses located at the buffer zone get affected.

  • Kemal Abu Rauk and his wife are seen burning the overgrown in their farmland in Khan Younis, Palestine, on Nov. 3rd 2014.

  • Azmi Qudiah stands in front of damaged home in Khuza'a, Khan Younis, southern Gaza, Palestine, on Nov. 2nd 2014.

    Their family house was damaged for the 7th time. During the war, they evacuated to Khan Younis and upon return, found that their rabbits, chicken and sheep have been killed - they're only left with 10 pigeons.

    Because most of the rooms a rubbled and completely damaged, they've recently rented a house, so they can live together again.

  • Hala Abu Daqqa is seen eating her lunch in the family's farmland in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, Palestine, on Nov. 3rd 2014.

    The Abu Daqqa's house was rubbled, the family has been living in a shelter home in an UNRWA school in Khan Younis for three months now.

  • Hunting equipment for birds is seen inside the 300m buffer zone in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, Palestine, on Nov. 3rd 2014.

    In spite of risk of getting killed by sniper fire, farmers hunt birds inside the 300m buffer zone, that Israel established as a tampon zone between Gaza and Israel. The farmers say they have nothing else to lose and that they have to live on something.

  • Khalil Zaanin is seen with his nephew Meera in his home in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, Palestine, on Oct. 28th 2014.

    Khalil Zaanin's farm was hit several times by an F-16 missiles and bulldozed completely by the Israeli army, during the war in 2014. His water well was destroyed and it took him a month to repair it.

    His house, which is located directly at the Erez border crossing, the only border crossing with Israel, was partially ruined.

    Khalil says that it is a life of no guarantees what so ever, you cannot plan anything. In 2008 he decided not to invest in the house anymore, because during every conflict, the houses located at the buffer zone get affected.

  • Sami Qudiah is seen in his severely damaged home in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, Palestine, on Nov. 1st 2014.

    They evacuated the house during Ramadan in July, after three of his kids were injured by an Israeli tank shell, that was fired at their house. Sami says, the kids still have shrapnel in their bodies.

    Their house and their belongings were destroyed for the 4th time. His farmland was bulldozed and used as a military base camp for Israeli ground operations.

    Sami Qudiah and his family spend their daytime at their damaged house and stay with their relatives during nights.

  • Khalil Zaanin is seen in his living room, in his home in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, Palestine, on Nov. 7th 2014.

  • A rubbled farm and demolished mosque are seen in Khuza'a, Khan Younis, southern Gaza, Palestine, on Nov. 3rd 2014.


Newsletter