Many Palestinian farmers, including women and children, have come under Israeli fire along the so-called “buffer zone” in the northern and eastern parts of the Gaza Strip over the past two years.
The Israeli-defined buffer zone falls within Palestinian lands, and the Israeli forces deployed on the outskirts do not hesitate to fire at a moving target that wanders about, a Press TV correspondent reported from Gaza on Friday.
On Thursday morning, residents close to the border woke up to a shower of papers falling from the sky, the regular occurrence of leaflets dropped from Israeli F-16’s over towns and cities close to the border.
Palestinian people gathered to read the message, but most knew what to expect: Warnings from the Israeli military telling these agricultural communities to stay away from their land, which lies within 300 meters of the border.
Prohibited access to farming land has had severe repercussions for the agricultural community in Gaza. They risk being shot for working on their fields.
The UN estimates that some 30% of Gaza’s arable land lies within the no-go zone. And as such, many farmers here have no choice but to risk life and limb for the sake of their livelihoods. As a result, they are often shot at by Israeli snipers and many of them are killed.
Shootings have increased in the buffer zone in the past couple of years, mostly targeting Palestinian farmers and gravel collectors.
In 2010, around 47 people were killed and 114 injured in such incidents.
As reliance on local farming continues to increase with Israel’s siege on the territory, targeting the agriculture sector will be destructive for Gaza’s already struggling population.