On 01 February 2014, the report
"Under Fire" issued by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) was
launched in London. The report addresses the Israeli violations in Access
Restricted Areas (ARA) in the Gaza Strip. It highlights the suffering
experienced by civilians, farmers and fishermen due to restrictions imposed on
the freedom of movement in those areas, the frequent targeting of civilians
with live ammunition, house demolitions and restrictions imposed on fishing
areas. The report was launched in London and lawyer Raji Sourani, Director of
PCHR, participated in the event via Skype.
The report reveals the negative impacts
of the imposition of the ARA in land and sea along the border area. The report
highlights the farmers inability to access their lands, totalling 62.6km2, i.e.
35% of the agricultural lands in the Gaza Strip or 17% of the whole area of the
Gaza Strip. The report also addresses the Israeli denial of the right to fish
in 85% of the fishing area according to Oslo Accords.
Statistics and data are provided on the
losses in lives and property due to the Israeli practices in that area. The
report also tackles the financial and economic loss that afflicts civilians,
farmers and fishermen and which is further exacerbated by the closure. The
report indicates that the cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas in 2012
did not help in altering the situation in ARA.
The report draws attention to the fact
that Israeli forces use live ammunition when targeting civilians in the ARA
without taking into consideration the principles of distinction and
proportionality, which is considered a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva
Convention. The report emphasizes that Israel does not respect the
international standards related to the use of force and in many instances, directly
resort to the use of lethal force.
Finally, the report brings to light
that many relief foundations fail to understand the nature of the suffering of
the ARA residents. The relief foundations’ main focus is on finding shelter for
residents whose houses have been demolished without paying attention to their
real loss (homes and livelihood) or addressing the underlying cause of this;
the ARA policy imposed by the Israeli authorities.
The report concludes with a number of
recommendations addressed to Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the
international community, as follows:
Lift the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip as it is considered a collective
punishment against Palestinian civilians;
Respect international humanitarian law and do not use lethal force against
Immediately stop targeting farmers and fishermen in the ARA;
Allow the ARA residents to go back to their property immediately and remove all
obstacles to achieve that;
Cease the ARA imposed on the sea and allow fishing according to the Oslo
Allow exportation and importation from and to the Palestinian territories;
Hold Israeli officials to account for violations of international law;
Direct international support for the ARA; and
Oblige Israel to comply with international law.
The report is available online at: