Wednesday, May 19, 2004

A link from Cacoa
Most of the article recaps the Amnesty International report, and the context. But here are the final paragraphs

For four years, Khalil Bashir, a school principal, his wife Souad, their six children and his mother have been under pressure from the Israeli army to leave their home near the Israeli settlement of Kfar Darom in the Gaza strip.

In October 2000, Israeli soldiers took over the upper floors of their house. Since then, the Bashir family have been confined to the ground floor, while the top floor has been turned into an army base accessed by a ladder.

Even though the Israeli army has full control of the house, soldiers have opened fire on the house from a watchtower. The sides of the house are riddled with bullets and the ground floor rooms facing the army position have sustained extensive damage.

Three members of the Bashir family have been injured by Israeli army fire. On 13 October 2000, Mr Bashir's son Yazen, 17, was shot and injured in the leg while he was getting water. On 28 April, 2001 soldiers shot from the watchtower into Mr Bashir's bedroom while he was reading, injuring him in the back of the head and neck.

On 18 February 2004 Israeli soldiers shot and seriously injured Mr Bashir's son Yusuf, 15. At the time Yusuf was outside the house with his father seeing off visitors, including two United Nations staff members. The three visitors had just got into their vehicle, clearly marked with the UN emblem, and were about to leave when a single shot was fired from the Israeli watchtower. Yusuf was hit in the back by a bullet. He is still in hospital and it is not known if he will walk again.

Shortly afterwards, his sister Amira, 18, told Amnesty International: "I am worried for my brother. I don't know if he will walk again; and I am worried about my three little siblings, my parents and my grandmother. I pray that they will be safe. The home should be the safest place but for our family it is not."

The Independent

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