Israeli Forces Again Open Fire on Gaza Farmlands

Israeli troops stationed across the borders with the Gaza Strip opened fire, Wednesday morning, at Palestinian fields east of Khan Younis.

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Witnesses said, according to Ma’an, that the Israeli soldiers fired machine guns at agricultural lands in the outskirts of al-Fukhkhari village. No injuries or casualties were reported.

According to WAFA correspondence, soldiers opened indiscriminate fire, forcing farmers who were tending to their crops to flee, in a flagrant and continuous violation of the ceasefire deal that ended the latest deadly Israeli onslaught on the war-torn coastal enclave.

Israeli Forces routinely open fire on Palestinian farmers and other civilians if they approach large tracts of borderline land that Israeli forces have deemed off-limits to Palestinians, as well as on fishing boats sailing within the six-nautical-miles zone.

The buffer zone extends between 500 meters and 1500 meters into the Strip, effectively turning local farms into no-go zones.

Related: Egypt to Demolish 1,200 Homes for Rafah Buffer Zone Expansion

According to UNOCHA, 17 percent of Gaza’s total land area and 35 percent of its agricultural land lie within the buffer zone as of 2010, directly affecting the lives and livelihoods of more than 100,000 Gaza residents.

The ceasefire deal of August 26, 2014, stipulated that Israel would immediately ease the blockade imposed on the strip and expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, but it has failed to do so.

See: 12/21/14 94 Israeli Ceasefire Violations Since August

Continuing the Cairo-brokered talks on the other key issues was repeatedly postponed in the wake of November attacks against Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula.

Israel has imposed a tightened blockade since 2007 after Hamas won the democratic legislative elections and took over power in the strip.

(Source / 28.01.2015)

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