The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights is concerned that land leveling by Israeli occupying forces in the northern Gaza Strip is a step aimed towards seizing more Palestinian land to create a buffer zone along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR on Sunday morning, 18 September 2005, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have leveled areas of Palestinian land in the northeastern area of Beit Hanoun, a town in the northern Gaza Strip. They also placed sand and other construction raw materials nearly 200 meters inside the Gaza Strip territory.
The affected areas of land belong to a number of Palestinian families and were razed by IOF during the al-Aqsa Intifada. A PCHR field worker reported that he saw barbed wire in the area, indicating that IOF plan to establish a separation fence along the border. Consequently, large areas of Palestinian land will be threatened with confiscation. A 500-meter-long section of fence was already established to the north of the former “Nissant” settlement and the Erez Industrial Zone during the implementation of the “Disengagement Plan” in the Gaza Strip.
PCHR believes that such developments have arisen in the context of an integral process aimed at creating a buffer zone inside Palestinian territory, extending from the southeast of Rafah to the northern Gaza Strip. The creation of this buffer zone further evidences the continuing Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip, despite the implementation of the unilateral “Disengagement Plan”. Consequently, PCHR calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to pressurise Israel to end its occupation of the Gaza Strip and prevent it from seizing more Palestinian land.