Israeli drones have sprayed weed killers and pesticides on Palestinian crops in the eastern parts of the Gaza Strip.
According to Palestinian farmers on Tuesday, melon, watermelon, okra, and wheat fields close to Israeli checkpoints were sprayed with "poisonous pesticides” and weed killers.
Local farmers have said that Israeli troops spray weed killers to dry wild plants around security fences in order to have clear vision to watch the area, but they usually spray dozens of meters around their targeted areas, killing and damaging Palestinian crops.
In January, a similar incident occurred in Khan Yunis where Israeli forces sprayed weed killers on crops and burnt them.
A Gaza Ministry of Agriculture authority, Wael Thabet, said that the ministry has on multiple occasions called on rights groups to intervene and halt Israel’s actions, adding that the Israelis "didn't respond positively and claimed that the process is meant to get rid of wild plants and weeds."
He noted that around 30 percent of the besieged Gaza Strip’s agricultural space is located in areas which are sprayed by Israeli forces.
The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since 2007. The blockade has led to a dramatic decline in the standards of living as well as substantial levels of unemployment and poverty.
Rights group slams Israeli shoot-to-kill policy
Israeli rights group B’Tselem has censured Israeli authorities for their encouragement of the shoot-to-kill policy.
The NGO made the announcement after Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian woman in Jerusalem al-Quds. On Friday, Israeli forces shot and killed a 49-year-old Palestinian woman, Siham Ratib Nimr, after an alleged stabbing attack in East Jerusalem al-Quds.
According to the group, Nimr had been approaching a police barrier near Damascus Gate with a pair of scissors when Israeli forces shot and killed her.
“It is quite doubtful whether Siham could have, in the circumstances, crossed the barrier, proceeded toward the officers and put them in danger,” said B’Tselem.
Over the past months, Israeli forces have fatally shot many Palestinians in the occupied territories, claiming they sought to attack the Israelis.
In January, Human Rights Watch voiced its deep concern over the increasing number of Israeli officials encouraging troops to kill Palestinians even when they are not a threat.
Over 287 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops since a fresh wave of violence flared up in the occupied territories in October 2015.