“During the Israeli bombings, I was filled with a deep, intense fear. I was afraid for my safety, my life, about the destruction in the melon and carrot plots we had planted with great effort, the huge losses we suffered, about not having anything to live off once it was over.”
Ghaidaa Qudaih, one of the three founders of Green Girls, an independent agricultural venture in the east of the Strip, reconstructed some of the moments of dread she experienced during Israel’s latest attack on Gaza: “Israeli tanks shelled an area right next to Gaza’s perimeter fence, near the farmlands. On the fifth day of the attack, a fire broke out there. I live close by. I kept peeking through the window towards our plot, clutching at my heart.” Qudaih and her two partners, Aseel Alnajjar and Nadin Rock, were unable to access the land during the eleven days of hostilities to water the carrots. Qudaih’s parents, and Rock’s, took advantage of moments in which the shelling seemed to be farther away, once every two or three days or so, to go water the melons, at least.
A video produced by Gisha several months ago, featuring the Green Girls, shows how Israel’s closure, its ongoing restrictions on entry of necessary materials, the aerial herbicide spraying it conducts near the fence, and its military incursions, routinely obstruct the small business started by Aseel, Ghaidaa and Nadin. Now, the three must also grapple with the severe damage caused by Israel’s bombardments to Gaza’s water and electricity infrastructure, as well as Israel’s ongoing restrictions on entry of fuel for Gaza’s power plant, in effect since May 11. When we spoke to Qudaih, Gaza residents were receiving power for no more than 4 consecutive hours, followed by a 16-hour outages. As of today, residents receive between 6-8 hours of power followed by 8-hour outages. “Many young people in Gaza lost their businesses altogether, so we feel lucky,” she told us. “Now we’re trying to water the crops every day, to save what we can, but we can’t pump water when there’s no electricity.”
Watch the short video featuring the Green Girls, first published in April.