PCHR: Gaza’s Farmers Ongoing Struggle for Survival

Farmer Abdel Salam Manasra from Shuja'iyya neighborhood in Gaza (Photo: via PCHR)

 By Palestine Chronicle Staff

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights published a report yesterday detailing the life of Palestinian farmer Abdel Salam Manasra from Shuja’iyya neighborhood in Gaza, comparing his work in the field of agriculture before the breakout of the Second Palestinian Uprising in 2000 with the following years which saw a total blockade on the Gaza Strip and three major military offensives that turned his life upside down.

Before the outbreak of the Second Palestinian Uprising in 2000, “3 to 4 farmers worked on every 1000 square meters in this area, which was a major source of income”, Abdel Salam said.

PCHR noted that “the tightening of the siege went hand in hand with an increase of Israeli terror that harshly affected the farmers: Ground incursions and invasions caused death and led to leveling of farmland, uprooting of trees and an increasing level of unemployment.”

“The farmers, including me, found no financial reward that would cover at least the basic needs of our families”, Abdel Salam added.

Abdel Salam tried to plant olive trees three times after his agriculture work has collapsed but every single attempt failed because of Israel’s continuing attacks on Gaza.

“Today I am 52 years old and I have tried to plant olive trees three times, but every attempt was stopped by the Israelis, either through bulldozers or shells and missiles during the 2014 offensive,” he continued.

PCHR highlighted the suffering of the farmers of Shuja’iyya neighborhood in Gaza, who had their houses destroyed in 2014 after Israel committed a massacre and destroyed large parts of the neighborhood.

“The farmers of Shuja’iyya are not only suffering from the harsh circumstances imposed on the farming sector but also from miserable living conditions.  Like many families, Abdel Salam and his brothers spent all their money on their farmland and houses, which were largely destroyed by the Israeli aggression of 2014,” PCHR said.

“I would like to send the message that the farmer is a helpless person who has nothing in his hand but his axe”, Abdel Salam concluded.


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