The Palestine Monitor
A PNGO Information Clearinghouse
Seven Palestinian Children Killed in Strawberry Fields by Israeli
5 January 2005
Israeli anti-personnel shells, which throw out thousands of metal darts in a
deadly cloud that rips apart everything it encounters, killed seven children
between the ages of ten and 17 in a strawberry field in northern Gaza
yesterday. Dr. Mohamed Sultan of the Beit Lahiya hospital said eleven were
also wounded, four critically. Two of the survivors had double leg
amputations, another a single leg amputation.
According to eyewitnesses, Israeli occupation military posts between the
illegal Israel settlements of Elei Sinai and Nisanit, located north of the
Palestinian town of Beit Lahiya, fired a tank shell at a Palestinian
agricultural area south of the fence that separates the two settlements from
Beit Lahiya. The shell directly hit a number of Palestinian children who
were farming their land.
Six of the boys who were killed were from the same family, and three were
brothers. The names of the dead children are: Hani Mohammed Ghaben (17),
and his brothers Bassam (14) and Mohammed (12); their cousins Rajeh Ghassan
Ghaben (10), Jaber Abdullah Ghaben (15), Mohammed Hassan Ghaben (17); and a
neighbor named Jibril Abdul Fattah al-Kaseeh (16).
The father of the three dead brothers was among the villagers who came to
see the effects of the shelling. When he reached the site, he was shocked
to see the scattered and bloody remains of his dead children. Medical staff
and family members gathered the shredded body part of the children from the
grass and clay.
Israeli violence has intensified in the run-up to the first Palestinian
presidential elections in eight years. Since Yasser Arafat died, during a
much-vaunted ‘window of opportunity for peace’, more than 75 Palestinians
have been killed by Israeli forces, many of them children. In the same
period, no Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinians.