Israel sprays toxic herbicides on Palestinian farms in Gaza, wiping out crops

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Yusuf Dhia-Allah

Sha'ban 12, 1441 2020-04-06

Daily News Analysis

by Yusuf Dhia-Allah

Already reeling under a stifling siege that has caused huge food and medicine shortages, Zionist Israel has intensified its attacks against the two million inhabitants of Gaza.

What can only be described as state vandalism, Israeli agricultural planes have been spraying toxic herbicides on Palestinian farmlands in eastern Gaza Strip.

This is not the first time that the Zionists have indulged in such criminal acts against Gaza’s civilian population in direct contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The farms destroyed lie near the illegal fence Zionist Israel has erected separating it from the besieged Gaza Strip.

On April 5, the Palestinian Information Center said toxic chemicals were sprayed on vast tracts of land, near the rural areas of Zeitoun and Johr al-Dik of Gaza City.

Palestinian farmers had planted wheat, barley, corn, okra and other crops to eke out an existence to overcome the extreme food shortages.

The Zionist occupiers, however, refuse to allow the Palestinians even the right to survive.

According to the World Food Program, 68.5% of people in the Gaza Strip are already food insecure.

Since 2014, the Zionist regime has frequently used aircraft to spray toxic chemicals on its side of the fence. Such chemicals do not remain on the Israeli side only.

The Zionists advance the spurious excuse that spraying is necessary to destroy “vegetation that obscures soldiers’ view of the area.”

Why do the heavily armed Israeli soldiers need to have a clear view of the Palestinians residing on their own land?

In any case, Israel has illegally usurped one third of Gaza's farmland where the heavily-armed soldiers prowl in search of their hapless prey.

The real purpose of the chemical spray is to destroy Palestinian fields, especially those close to the fence.

This is evident from the data compiled by the Palestinian Agriculture Ministry.

Between 2014 and 2018, Israeli pesticides have damaged 14,000 dunams (3,459 acres) of agricultural land in tiny Gaza.

Its two million inhabitants are crammed into an area that measures 10 miles by 25 miles.

Much of Gaza is barren. The small areas that the Palestinian farmers have managed to cultivate are being destroyed by Israel’s spraying of poisonous herbicides.

Palestinian farmers in Gaza have not only suffered huge financial losses, Israel has also poisoned the agricultural environment.

The destruction of Palestinian crops and farms can be seen deep inside the Gaza Strip.

Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza condemned on April 5 the Zionist regime for destroying Palestinian crops along the fence.

The Center documents toxic spraying by Israel and investigates the damage caused to Palestinian farmers.

Al-Mezan also called on the international community to assume its legal and moral responsibilities and pressure the Israeli regime to halt such inhumane measures.

Gaza has been under an Israeli siege through air, land and sea since June 2007.

In addition to food shortages, 97% of Gaza’s water is contaminated by sewage and salts.

This is the direct result of Israel’s refusal to allow spare parts to repair water treatment plants.

Hospitals also face acute shortage of medicines.

“Primary Health Care services and their programs and protocols are at risk as the deficit in essential drug lists becomes more acute,” according to Maher Shamiya, director general of Gaza Health Ministry’s Primary Care.

Around 100 out of 143 Primary Health Care medicines are unavailable, he added.

Even anaesthesia is often not available resulting in many Palestinians being operated on without it.

This includes wounded Palestinian children that are deliberately targeted by Israeli snipers hitting them above the waist.

The Zionist blockade has caused massive unemployment and unrelenting poverty leading to immense suffering for the people of Gaza.

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