Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Israeli military vehicles, bulldozers cross Gaza borders

June 10, 2015 12:22 A.M. (Updated: June 10, 2015 6:25 A.M.) 

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Palestinian residents in the Gaza Strip witnessed ongoing near daily incursions by Israeli forces Wednesday morning as Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers entered the strip, firing heavily into the air.Three bulldozers and four military tanks were observed by residents of the town of al-Qarara working on Palestinian agricultural land near the Gaza Israel border.Witnesses said the vehicles came from the Kissufim military base, reporting that Israeli forces fired gunshots into the air while the bulldozers worked.An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an she had a report of "routine maintenance" carried out adjacent to the border fence, but had no further information regarding what type of maintenance was performed.Israeli authorities maintain a "buffer zone" along the Gaza-Israel border, however its exact limits are ambiguous. Farmers whose land lies within or close to the buffer zone face near daily fire or threat of fire from Israeli forces, often preventing them from cultivating their crops, rights groups say.
Israeli forces enter the Gaza Strip on a near-daily basis in contravention of international law, with Israeli forces opening fire at civilians in the "buffer zone" on land and sea over ten times between May 26 and June 1, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
According to Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the buffer zone, which Palestinians are prohibited from entering, "is illegal under both Israeli and international law."Wednesday's incident also came days after Israeli jets launched airstrikes on a military training base operated by Hamas' military wing in the northern Gaza Strip in response to a rocket fired at Israel claimed by a group Sheikh Omar Hadid-Bayt al-Maqdis.The Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel was temporarily shut following the exchange, amidst an ongoing 8-year blockade of the strip enforced by Israel and supported by Egypt to the south.