Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
Published as part of the “Child Rights at the Centre: Enhancing National Capacities to Monitor, Document, and Report on Child Rights Issues in the oPt” project, funded by Save the Children - UK. The contents of this report are the sole responsibility of the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, and can in no way be taken to represent the views of Save the Children - UK.
What Is the “Buffer Zone”?
The Buffer Zone is a military no-go zone imposed by Israel, starting at the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip and extending a substantial distance into Gazan territory. “Buffer zone,” or sometimes “access-restricted areas,” are terms generally used by Israel to describe the band of Gazan territory to which Palestinian access is effectively denied. (The term “Buffer Zone” is used throughout this factsheet for simplicity’s sake.) Israel treats this border area, which contains much of Gaza’s most valuable arable land, as a free-fire zone, meaning any Gazan resident entering the zone is at risk of death or injury. It also regularly sends troops, including armoured columns, into the border areas to keep the lands razed of any built-up structures or agricultural activity. Despite the mortal threat associated with entering the Buffer Zone, its actual width and area are unclear. In May 2009, Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) aircraft dropped leaflets on Gaza warning residents not to move within 300 metres of the border fence, or risk being shot at. In reality, however, Palestinians have been shot up to two kilometres from the border fence, and houses and buildings have been demolished at a distance greater than 300 metres from the border.