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.

 

Following the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza
Strip (08 July – 26 August 2014), a ceasefire agreement between Israel and
Palestinian armed groups was brokered by the Egyptian government, which allowed
fishermen
to sail up to 6 nautical miles.  However, the Israeli naval forces have not
allowed fishermen to sail up to this limit as all Israeli attacks have taken
place within the 6-nautical- mile fishing area.

 

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

· 21 March 2013: 300 metres

 

 

In reality, attacks
against civilians take place anywhere upto 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 areasrecognised in the 1994 Gaza
Jericho Agreement.

· Approximately 3,700 fishermenwork 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

February 2015

Attacks

Total

“Buffer zone” on land

“Buffer zone” at sea

Shelling

0

0

0

Shooting

20

5

15

Incursions

1

1

0

Land levelling

0

0

0

Detention incidents

5

5

0

Total incidents

26

11

15

Consequences of
attacks

a. Deaths and injuries

February 2015

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

1

1

0

Minors

0

0

0

Women

0

0

0

b. Property related violations

February 2015

Consequences

Total

“Buffer zone” on land

“Buffer zone” at sea

Property damaged

0

0

0

Property confiscated

0

0

0

Dunums razed

0

0

0

 

c. Detention

February 2015

Consequences

Total

“Buffer zone” on land

“Buffer zone” at sea

Detention incidents

5

5

0

Total persons detained

8

8

0

Minors detained

2

2

0

Women detained

0

0

0

Note:

Two of the detained persons are traders
living in the Gaza Strip.  They were
arrested at the Beit Hanoun "Erez" Crossing.