GAZA, (PIC)– The Israeli buffer zone has deepened Palestinians’ suffering in Gaza Strip, where it denied farmers’ access to their lands, totaling 35% of the agricultural lands in Gaza Strip estimated at 17% of the whole area of the Strip.
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) have issued a report under the title “Under Fire” addressing Israeli violations in Access Restricted Areas (ARA) in the Gaza Strip.
The report highlighted “the suffering experienced by civilians, farmers and fishermen due to restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement in those areas, the frequent targeting of civilians with live ammunition, house demolitions and restrictions imposed on fishing areas.”
The report was launched in London with the participation of lawyer Raji Sourani, Director of PCHR, via Skype.
The report confirmed “the farmers’ inability to access their lands, totaling 62.6 km2, i.e. 35% of the agricultural lands in the Gaza Strip or 17% of the whole area of the Gaza Strip.”
The Israeli authorities have imposed a buffer zone eastern the border fence along Gaza Strip ranging between 300 and 1000 meters.
The report also addressed the Israeli denial of the right to fish in 85% of the fishing area according to Oslo Accords.
Statistics and data are provided on the losses in lives and property due to the Israeli practices in that area. The report also tackles the financial and economic loss that afflicts civilians, farmers and fishermen and which is further exacerbated by the closure. The report indicated that the cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas in 2012 did not help in altering the situation in ARA.
The report has drawn attention to the fact that Israeli forces use live ammunition when targeting civilians in the ARA without taking into consideration the principles of distinction and proportionality, which is considered a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The report also emphasized that Israel does not respect the international standards related to the use of force and in many instances, directly resort to the use of lethal force.
The report confirmed that many relief foundations fail to understand the nature of the suffering of the ARA residents. “The relief foundations’ main focus is on finding shelter for residents whose houses have been demolished without paying attention to their real loss (homes and livelihood) or addressing the underlying cause of this; the ARA policy imposed by the Israeli authorities.”
The report concluded with a number of recommendations addressed to Israel, calling for lifting the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip as it is considered a collective punishment against Palestinian civilians, respecting international humanitarian law, and not using lethal force against Palestinian civilians.
It also called for stopping targeting farmers and fishermen in the ARA, stressing the need to allow the ARA residents to go back to their property immediately and remove all obstacles to achieve that.
The report called for ceasing the ARA imposed on the sea and allowing fishing according to the Oslo Accords, and to allow exportation and importation from and to the Palestinian territories, and to bring Israeli officials to account for violations of international law, and to direct international support for the border areas.
(Source / 26.02.2014