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IOF Re-invade Beit Hanoun


IOF Re-invade Beit Hanoun after Few- Hour-Long Withdrawal

Destruction of Homes, Uprooting of Trees Leaves Land Arid

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) re-invaded the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, after it withdrew for several hours, leaving behind a trail of destroyed houses and uprooted olive, citrus and date palm trees.

Israeli tanks pulled out of town yesterday after a five-day invasion in which eight Palestinians were killed and some fifty others were wounded.

Palestinian sources said that at least ten homes were leveled to the ground and five others were partially destroyed in the Israeli onslaught, while thousands of trees were uprooted. Telephone lines were cut, water networks damaged and streets were ravaged during the fiercest invasion in months.

Before withdrawing, IOF troops distributed leaflets warning citizens of cooperating with Intifada activists.

IOF bulldozed Maher Shawwa’s 6,000 orange and lemon trees. He told The Independent, “I took care of it for 15 years. It produces at 15. When it is 40, I can make a profit.” He estimated his loss at hundreds of thousands of dollars, adding, “I have been set back 40 years.”

“We have lost our livelihood. We have lost our orange gold,” said al-Shawwa, walking through his ruined citrus groves. “Each tree is like my baby.”

One of his workers, Ibrahim Hussein, 59, was sleeping outside his small home in the midst of the groves when the IOF bulldozers arrived. “They fired three shots at me and told me to stay inside," he said.

As the farm workers gathered fallen oranges from the crushed green branches, he went on, “They destroyed the farm. I have lost my salary, and so have 20 other farmers.”

The worst collective punishment on Beit Hanoun, however, is the destruction of more than 70 per cent of its citrus groves since the beginning of the uprising 32 months ago.

In the latest invasion, 300 hectares were bulldozed, bringing the total to 1,000 hectares.

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