The extent of Israel’s control over swathes of occupied Gaza Strip, and systematic violence towards Palestinian civilians in unilaterally declared “no go” zones, has been detailed in a new report.
The report, by Israeli human rights NGO Gisha, details the use of live fire, access restrictions and aerial herbicide spraying by Israeli occupation authorities.
Gisha says its report “exposes the impact of enforcement measures employed by Israel against what it perceives as breaches of its directives in the [Access Restricted Areas].”
“For more than a decade,” the NGO stated, “and long before the recent wave of protests in Gaza began, the restrictions Israel has imposed in the buffer and fishing zones through aggressive enforcement tactics have resulted in death, injury, heavy damage to property, the collapse of two major economic sectors, and have hindered economic growth.”
Between 2010 and 2017 – before the “Great Return March” protests that began in March this year – there were a total of 1,300 incidents of live-fire by Israeli occupation forces on farmers, herders, scrap collectors, demonstrators and other Gaza residents near the perimeter fence.
At least 161 Palestinians were killed and more than 3,000 injured, in these incidents.
Meanwhile, “since 2014, Israel has also conducted aerial herbicide spraying along the fence with Gaza, causing extensive damage to crops and tremendous financial losses for farmers.”
According to the report, “the chemical agents used have destroyed crops and grazing pastures as far as a kilometre away from the fence, inside Palestinian territory.”
“Since the spraying began,” the report continues, “nearly 22,000 dunams (around 5,400 acres) of land have sustained damage, of which about 8,000 dunams (nearly 2,000 acres) are grazing lands damaged in the last six months.”
At sea, Israel “shrinks and expands the [fishing] zone regularly, often as a punitive measure, causing uncertainty and insecurity.”
“From 2010 to 2017, there were nearly 1,000 incidents of live-fire reported at sea, 107 injuries, five deaths, and 250 instances of confiscation of boats and other equipment,” Gisha stated.
The NGO urged Israel to “end its destructive and disproportionate actions and enable Palestinian residents of Gaza, including members of the farming, herding and fishing communities, to lead normal lives.”
– Middle East Monitor