Sunday, March 7, 2010

IOF Continues Enforcing Security Buffer Zone inside Gaza, Bulldozes Agricultural lands, Destroys Palestinian Houses


The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) has increased its attacks on Palestinians near the Gaza Strip's eastern and northern borders with Israel; an area inside Gaza that the IOF has declared as a security 'buffer zone'. Al Mezan's investigations indicate that the IOF always fires at any Palestinians near the eastern and northern borders. The IOF's attacks do not follow a specific pattern. The IOF claims that its soldiers fire at Palestinians only when they are 300 meters from border fence. However, while some attacks have occurred close to the border fence, many other attacks occurred when civilians were more than a kilometer from the borderline.

According to Al Mezan's continuous monitoring, at approximately 6am on Thursday 18 February 2010, Israeli tanks and four armored bulldozers moved under the cover of reconnaissance drones nearly 650 meter inside the Al Msadar village in the Al Maghazi refugee camp. The IOF stationed itself there while the bulldozers leveled about 18 dunoum of agricultural lands and destroyed three rural houses. At approximately 4:30pm on the same day the IOF withdrew from the area.    

According to field investigations conducted by Al Mezan, the IOF destroyed the house of Moaen Ali Salman Abu Said,28. The IOF used loud speakers and ordered the residents of that house to leave the house before destroying it. The Abu Said family did not manage to collect their furniture from  the house. The house is 175 square metre and five persons live there. The IOF also destroyed the house of Salim Salman Awad Ibn Said,67, two-storey and 120 square meter. Eight persons live there, four of them are children. The IOF also leveled 10 dunoms planted with fruitful olive trees. An irrigation network and water well were destroyed as a result. In addition, the IOF destroyed a 80 square meter rural house. The IOF also fired  indiscriminately in that area. Several houses were partially damaged.

Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights strongly condemns the continued, systematic attacks by the IOF against the Palestinian civiliansparticularly farmers who work in their fields near the borders. Al Mezan warns of the human rights implications for Palestinian civilians which emanate from Israel's attempts to enforce the security 'buffer zone' inside the Gaza Strip. Al Mezan's monitoring indicates that the IOF attacks linked to the 'buffer zone' occur within an area that extends well beyond one kilometer from Gaza's eastern and northern borders.

Al Mezan asserts that the IOF's conduct in this area flagrantly violates the rules of international humanitarian law and human rights law. They violate the rights to life, liberty and personal integrity. They also violate a wide range of economic and social rights and cause displacement to civilians.

Al Mezan Centre calls on the international community to take prompt actions to ensure due protection of Palestinian civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The Centre asserts that IOF's continued acts necessitate urgent actions by international community to enforce the mechanisms of accountability against those who violate international law in oPt.