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Following disengagement from the Gaza Strip in
September 2005, Israel unilaterally and illegally established a so-called
“buffer zone”, an area prohibited to Palestinians along the land and sea
borders of the Gaza Strip. The precise area designated by Israel as a “buffer
zone” is not clear and this Israeli policy is typically enforced with live
fire. The establishment of the ‘buffer zone’ is illegal under both Israeli and
international law.

 

Preventing Palestinians from accessing their lands and
fishing areas violates numerous provisions of international human rights law,
including the right to work, the right to an adequate standard of living, and
the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Enforcing the “buffer
zone” through the use of live fire often results in, inter alia, the direct targeting of civilians and/or indiscriminate
attacks, both of which constitute war crimes.

 

Following the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip in
November 2012, a
ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian armed groups was brokered by
the Egyptian government, which included terms related to access to land and sea.
In an online statement on 25 February 2013, the
Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT)
declared that fishermen could now access the sea up to six nautical miles
offshore, and that farmers could now access lands in the border area up to 100m
from the border fence. However, both references have since been removed from
the statement.
Then, on 21 March 2013, the Israeli forces’ spokesperson
announced re-reducing the fishing area allowed for Palestinian fishermen from 6
nautical miles to 3 nautical miles.  However,
on 21 May 2013, Israeli authorities decided to allow fishermen to sail up to 6
nautical miles.

 

Dimensions

 

On land, inside Palestinian territory

 

Distance from the border fence, up to which access is permitted:

 

· Second Intifada (2000): 150 metres

· According to Israel (2010) : 300 metres

· 22 November 2012: unclear parameters

· 25 February 2013: 100 metres

· 21 March 2013: 300 metres

 

 

In reality, attacks against civilians take place anywhere up to
approximately 1.5 kilometres inside the border fence. This
constitutes approximately 17%
of the total territory of the Gaza Strip.

 

 

 

At sea, off the coast of the Gaza Strip

 

Distance from the shore, up to which access is permitted:

 

· Oslo Accords (1994): 20 nautical miles (nm)

· Bertini Commitment (2002): 12 nm

· October 2006: 6 nm

· End of 2007 : 3 nm

· 22 November 2012: 6 nm

· 25 February 2013: unknown

· 12 March 2013: 3 nm

· 21 May 2013: 6 nm

 

In addition, access is consistently denied in the following areas:

 

· 1.5 nm in the north along the maritime boundary with
Israel

· 1 nm in the south along the maritime boundary with Egypt

 

Impact

 

On land

 

· Approximately 27,000 dunums, 35% of the Gaza Strip’s agricultural
land,
can only be accessed under high personal risk, as Israeli attacks
may result in injury or death of civilians.

· 95% of the restricted area is arable land.

· After the evacuation of settlements (2005) and ‘Operation Cast Lead’
(2008-2009), the majority of Palestinian families living in the border areas abandoned
their land and homes.

At sea

 

· Palestinians are completely prevented from accessing 85% of the
Palestinian maritime areas
recognised in the 1994 Gaza Jericho Agreement.

· Approximately 3,700 fishermen work under high personal risk
every day at sea.

· Approximately 8,200 persons work in the fishing industry.

· Approximately 65,000 persons, including individuals who work in
the fishing industry and their dependents, are affected by thebuffer zone” restrictions at sea.

· The area near the coast is markedly over-fished.

 

Attacks

March 2014

Attacks

Total

“Buffer
zone” on land

“Buffer
zone” at sea

Shelling

5

4

1

Shooting

28

10

18

Incursions

4

4

0

Land levelling

0

0

0

Detention incidents

7

6

1

Total incidents

44

24

20

 

Consequences of attacks

a. Deaths and injuries

March 2014

Consequences

Total

“Buffer
zone” on land

“Buffer
zone” at sea

Death of persons

0

0

0

Minors

0

0

0

Women

0

0

0

Injury of persons

8

5

3

Minors

1

1

0

Women

0

0

0

 

b. Property related violations

March 2014

Consequences

Total

“Buffer
zone” on land

“Buffer
zone” at sea

Property damaged

11

4

7

Property
confiscated

2

0

2

Dunums
razed

0

0

0

 

c. Detention

March 2014

Consequences

Total

“Buffer zone” on land

“Buffer zone” at sea

Detention
incidents

7

6

1

Total persons detained

12

10

2

Minors detained

4

4

0

Women detained

0

0

0