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Palestinian farmers: Israeli planes spray Gaza farmlands with toxic herbicides

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows Palestinian farmers as they work on their field, east of Khan Younis, in the besieged Gaza Strip, in front of an Israeli army watch tower. (Photo by AP)

Israeli agricultural planes have once again sprayed toxic herbicides on Palestinian farmlands in the eastern Gaza Strip, near the fence separating the blockaded land from the Israeli-occupied territories, a report says.

On Sunday, the Palestinian Information Center said toxic chemicals were sprayed on vast tracts of land, near the rural areas of Zeitoun and Johr al-Dik of Gaza City, where wheat, barley, corn, okra and other crops had been planted.

The report, citing locals, affirmed widespread damage.

Since 2014, the Israeli regime has every so often dispatched such aircraft to spray toxic chemicals on its side of fence, claiming that it is necessary to destroy “vegetation that obscures soldiers’ view of the area.”

However, Palestinian fields are also being destroyed through the use of such Israeli-sprayed herbicides. Palestinian farmers have frequently testified that the resulting damage can be clearly seen deep inside the Gaza Strip.

Farmers in Gaza on Sunday said the Israeli measure had caused them heavy financial losses and poisoned the agricultural environment in the region.

Additionally on Sunday, al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, which documents the toxic spraying and investigates the damage caused to Palestinian farmers, condemned the Tel Aviv regime for razing Palestinian-planted crops along the fence.

The rights group also called on the international community to assume its legal and moral responsibilities and pressure the Israeli regime to halt such inhumane measures.

According to the Palestinian Agriculture Ministry, Israeli pesticides damaged 14,000 dunams (3,459 acres) of agricultural land in Gaza from 2014 through 2018, destroying the entire crops sown there.

Gaza has been under an Israeli siege through air, land and sea since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

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