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article imageReport: Israeli Defence Force shoots children in Gaza

By Andre C James     Oct 12, 2010 in World
It has been reported by Defence for Children International that 10 Palestinian children have been shot and wounded by Israeli troops in the past three months along the Gaza border.
Defence for Children International says the Israel Defence Force (IDF) claim the children were within a 300-metre buffer zone implemented in 2008.
Israel declared the buffer zone inside Gaza after the three-week war in 2008-9, saying it was intended to prevent militants firing rockets, however, eyewitnesses claim that the children were well outside the buffer zone and were scouring rubble when they were fired upon.
"The army knows the kids are there to collect. They watch them every day and they know they have no weapons," said Mohammed Abu Rukbi, a fieldworker with DCI. "They usually fire warning shots but the kids don't take much notice."
Mohammed Sobboh, 17, was shot just above the knee on August 25 when he was 800 metres from the border, he said. The 12 people in his family have no other income and are not entitled to aid from the UN as they are not refugees.
Israeli soldiers shot dead a horse and a donkey used by Mohammed and his brothers to carry the rubble, he said. His brother, Adham, 22, said children as young as eight collect debris from former settlements and demolished buildings as a means to survive.
The Gaza City-based Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights is to mount a legal challenge jointly with the Israeli groups Adalah and Physicians for Human Rights to breaches of the official buffer zone. "The area [the Israelis] announced is not the same as what exists on the ground," said the centre's Samir Zaqout.
He criticised the Israelis for shooting and shelling unarmed civilians. "They know everything. They have the technological capacity to monitor the area. They have drones in the sky all the time. They are observing and screening everything."
According to the UN, about 30% of Gaza's arable land is contained within 300 metres of the 50km border. The difficulty farmers face in reaching their land had had an impact on the availability of crops in Gaza, Zaqout said. "Tomatoes are now 10 shekels a kilo, whereas the price used to be one or two shekels."
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