(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA))
By Wisam Abu Zaid
GAZA, Oct 3 (KUNA) - As the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip by land and sea continue for more than 16 years, the occupation authorities are still depriving Palestinians of a third of their agricultural lands near the eastern and northern borders of the Strip, where Israeli incursions and shootings of farmers are increasing.
The repeated Israeli incursions and shootings towards the farmers and their agricultural lands along the border strip from Rafah in the south to Beit Hanoun in the north make it more difficult for them to reach their lands.
In remarks to KUNA, Director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Fadel Lamazini, said that since the beginning of this year, the Israeli occupation army has carried out 32 incursions and 212 shooting attacks against farmers, while 31 Palestinians, including nine children, were arrested for allegedly trying to infiltrate near the border.
These attacks violate the farmers' rights that extend their livelihood to reach an adequate standard of living and their right to work, and deprive them of access to their lands, which raises the unemployment rate, which exceeded 55 percent recently, he added.
He also pointed out that the Israeli violations also affect the level of food security, which amounts to about 68 percent and deprives the residents of the Gaza Strip of a third of the lands available for agriculture.
Furthermore, he stressed that the Gaza Strip is still under occupation by Israel and must, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention, provide for the needs of the Strip, including the materials needed by farmers and the provision of food.
In turn, the Director of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Saad Eddin Ziada, said that the Zionists' attacks on farmers are systematic to prevent the Palestinians from growing their own food.
He called on international donor institutions working in the agricultural sector to take bolder steps in order to expose the occupation policy against farmers and the agricultural sector, and to work to defend the money they provide to Palestinian farmers by filing cases in international courts.
The Gaza Strip is about 365 square kilometers and its population is about 2,200,000 people. (end) wab.aa
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