Israeli Army Open Gunfire on Gaza Borderline Farmlands, Houses

GAZA, February 17, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces opened Tuesday morning gunfire at Palestinian farmlands and houses to the east of Gaza city, said WAFA correspondent.

Israeli soldiers deployed and stationed in military watchtowers along the border to the east of the city indiscriminately opened fire at borderline Palestinian farmlands and houses near Ash-Shuhada cemetery.

An Israeli artillery shell was also fired on Palestinian properties, causing extensive damage.

This came after two mortar shells were allegedly fired from the blockaded coastal enclave and landed in Rafah eastern border in the southern Gaza Strip.

No casualties were reported in the cross-border attack that constitutes a flagrant violation of the ceasefire deal that ended the latest deadly Israeli onslaught targeting 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 1,500 meters into the Strip, effectively turning local farms into no-go zones.

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

Israel and the Palestinian factions inked a ceasefire deal on August 26, ending the latest deadly Israeli onslaught on Gaza that claimed the lives of over 2,200 people, overwhelmingly civilians.

The ceasefire deal 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.

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.