Israel Targets Farmers with Gunfire at Gaza Borderline

KHAN YOUNES, November 17, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli army Tuesday opened gunfire toward Palestinian homes and agricultural land situated near the borderline to the east of Gaza city, according to WAFA correspondent.

He said Israeli armored tanks opened a barrage of gunfire as well as fired tear gas canisters toward borderline farmland and neighboring houses, causing damage to a number of homes, however, no casualties were reported.

Israeli army and navy open fire on farmers and fishermen almost on a daily basis.

Since 2005, Israel unilaterally imposed a 300-meter-wide buffer zone into the border with Gaza, sharply affecting the livelihood of tens of thousands of Gaza farmers, who rely heavily on agriculture to provide for their families.

As of 2010, UN-OCHA estimated that 35 percent of Gaza’s agricultural land is located in restricted-access areas, affecting the lives and livelihoods of approximately 113,000 people.

Farmers in farmland on the borders say their situation has only worsened since the last war ended in 2014 summer, pointing to the Israeli military’s frequent incursions into their land and its practice of firing live ammunition at farmers who enter the sizable ‘buffer zone’ between Gaza and Israel.

Israel and the Palestinian factions signed a ceasefire deal on August 26, ending the 2014 summer Israeli onslaught on Gaza, which claimed the lives of over 2,200 Gaza refugees, overwhelmingly civilians.

Under the terms of the ceasefire, Israel was to immediately ease the blockade imposed on the Strip and expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, allowing fishermen to sail as far as six nautical miles from shore.

The current six miles also falls drastically short of the 20 nautical miles allocated to Gaza’s fishermen in the 1993 Oslo Accords between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.

Since 2007, Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas won the parliamentary elections and subsequently took over the Gaza Strip from President Mahmoud Abbas’ loyal security services.