A new report by the group ‘Forensic Architecture’ has found that widespread pesticide contamination from Israel into Gaza has occurred over decades, severely impacting the food grown in Gaza.
The full report follows below:
Staging the terrain
Over three decades, in tandem with the Madrid and Oslo negotiation processes, the occupied Gaza Strip has been slowly isolated from the rest of Palestine and the outside world, and subjected to repeated Israeli military incursions. These incursions intensified from September 2003 to the fall of 2014, during which Israel launched at least 24 separate military operations targeting Gaza, giving shape to its surrounding borders today.
The borders around Gaza—one of the most densely-populated areas on Earth—continue to be hardened and heightened into a sophisticated system of under- and overground fences, forts, and surveillance technologies. Part of this system has been the production of an enforced and expanding military no-go area—or ‘buffer zone’—on the Palestinian side of the border.
Since 2014, the clearing and bulldozing of agricultural and residential lands by the Israel military along the eastern border of Gaza has been complemented by the unannounced aerial spraying of crop-killing herbicides.
This ongoing practice has not only destroyed entire swaths of formerly arable land along the border fence, but also crops and farmlands hundreds of metres deep into Palestinian territory, resulting in the loss of livelihoods for Gazan farmers.
Farmers near the border in Gaza. (Shourideh C. Molavi and Ain Media Gaza)
Tractors flattening land for the ‘buffer zone’ in eastern Gaza, in 2018. (Shourideh C. Molavi and Ain Media Gaza)
Working closely with the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, the Tel Aviv-based Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, and the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Haifa, Forensic Architecture examined the environmental and legal implications of the Israeli practice of aerial spraying of herbicides along the Gaza border.
(Read the press release from Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement here.)
To this end, our investigation sought to answer the following questions: how do airborne herbicides travel into Gaza?