Israel wages scorched earth warfare in Gaza

Reaction to the destruction of crops by the Israeli military

Amjad Ayman Yaghi reports in The Electronic Intifada:

Ibrahim was working on a farm when he saw an Israeli aircraft approach. As the aircraft got nearer, Ibrahim noticed that a liquid was being sprayed from it. He was immediately worried that the crops he had planted would not survive.

“This is the fourth time that the farm has been sprayed with herbicides during my time working on it,” the 45-year-old said. “After every spraying, the crops have withered and died.”

The damage caused by the spraying – which occurred in April – has meant that Ibrahim is now out of work and without an income.

The damage is likely to have long-term repercussions for the farm. After each herbicide spraying “we have to uproot the crops and try to replace the surface soil in order to revive the land,” said Ibrahim, who requested that his full name would not be used.  The farm is located in al-Shujaiyeh, a neighborhood east of Gaza City. Its crops include tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplants and lettuces.

Israel’s herbicide offensive damaged 145 acres of farmland in the east and north of Gaza last month. More than 90 farmers experienced financial losses as a result.

Nidal Hamad, 30, was on a farm in al-Bureij, an area in central Gaza, when the spraying occurred. He estimates that an Israeli aircraft came as close as 20 meters to the ground.

“The Israeli army does not know how much we suffer after each spraying,” Hamad said. “We see the destruction of our future in this process. I do not know why we scare them. They know perfectly well that we are farmers, that we cultivate the land in order to gather the crops and then sell them. Does that make us terrorists?”

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