sadism in Farraheen, round billion

Over the last few days, newspapers reported that several muqawama, interpreted in the Western press as infiltrators, died on Friday during a firefight with the Israeli army. Reality is different. Today in Farraheen, a family is homeless, its concrete home collapsed by Israeli tank shells.
Today in Farraheen, perhaps 20 dunums of land are devastated: uprooted olive boughs everywhere, their root structures obscenely exposed to the sun, debris everywhere, bits of metal and plastic and rubber scattered amidst the rubble of what used to a farmer’s shed, filled with machines used to work the land east of Khan Younis.
Here’s what happened. At around 1:30 PM, two teenage boys, resistance fighters—muqawama—from Islamic Jihad, aged 16, 17, maybe 18, armed with Kalashnikovs, passed his home, crossed the border fence to ’48, and took up positions on the dirt mound the Israeli army uses as a vantage point, and as high ground, from whence to shoot Palestinian peasants.
Jaber asked them to come back. They didn’t. He said they meant to die. Then there was a shootout, as Israeli jeeps arrived, alerted by motion-sensing towers equipped with cameras that interrupt the metal fencing on the border. This occurred at around 2 PM. At maybe 3 PM, after one of them had shot until he ran out of ammunition, he surrendered. Jaber told us that the military shot him in the head, then the heart.
The other fired for another hour. When they finally killed him, they aimed for his neck, trying to sever his head from his torso. At around 5, PM, 1000 shebab and several ambulances arrived to retrieve the bodies, from the Israeli side of the fence.
At around 8 PM, using the firefight as a pretext, the Israeli army destroyed many dunums of farmland and one home. Jaber told us all of this the next afternoon, first telling two boys playing in his backyard to “Go! Get out of here!” One of them was on a swing, the other just idling around. Both were in the line-of-sight from Israeli snipers, probably on a small promontory just over the border.
Maybe they were elsewhere. Even if they weren’t there, remote-controlled semi-automated machine gun towers were there. They fire big shells, maybe 50 mm. The shells issued a tremendous report every time they fired, and they fired a number of times in the two hours we were in Farraheen.
Jaber said, “We have to harvest…we will harvest again and again…if I don’t replant, it will become a military zone.” Jaber’s face was in a middle zone between fury-contorted and tears. He rattled off a list of the destroyed crops and animals, his voice low and even and miraculously contained: the chicken coop, the rabbit hatch, garlic, guava, and onions. “I had 150 chickens, 5 are left.” The rest, recently dead, were beneath the rubble.
They would probably start rotting soon. I am sure I ate some of those chickens two weeks ago. “I had 60 rabbits, 40 women, 20 men…if the house is destroyed, we’ll rebuild it…this is life, you keep rebuilding. Let our mind be free, let the anger and the hate pass in through one ear and out the other.” He had 200 pigeons: “pigeons are like Europeans, they only have one mate.” The pigeons were in the air circling desperately.
 They had no home. “The donkey is a radar, his ears go up when the IDF comes… [my] donkey was  a martyr.” He died 7 months ago. Jaber says that his donkey was worth 600 dollars; after the siege a donkey is better than anything else, given how expensive petrol is.
He also inventoried other damaged or destroyed goods. A wheat thresher is damaged. Two washing machines, one of them lugged over from his rented home closer to the core of the village, brought over so he could paint it. A microwave; a 10,000 dollar tractor, which he bought just two years ago; an 1000 shekel water tank, which they pierced with a bullet.
 A motor, 5000 shekels. A water pump, 5000 shekels. 700 dollars for a backpack to spray pesticidal liquids. The grape vines are dead: “they cannot be replanted…the palm tree is strong, she carried on living.” The palm tree had been shot through its crown. He called it a small nakba.
Harb, married to the daughter of Jaber’s aunt, was the owner of the other demolished home. There, the Israeli army destroyed four dunums of land, nearly burying all the citrus and olive trees. The same tanks and bulldozers that would later destroy Jaber’s livelihood first came by Harb’s home–Harb because he was born in 1950. Harb is Arabic for war.
They came, blew up the water tank, destroyed the home, and left. They don’t know if it is still habitable. Harb had been saving since he was 18 to build this home, since 1968. He had moved into it in 1995. He had 12 children. 14 people total lived in the home.
His only job was farming. His only job had been destroyed. He was one kilometer from the border, far, far outside the buffer zone, and the muqawama clearly had not been using his house to shelter—he and his family had been inside their home when the military vehicles came and fled, returning in the morning to the panorama of destruction. “There is no hope,” reads graffiti scrawled on a home in the village.

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