Paris Francophone Institute for Freedoms (PFIF) issued a report calling for opening of an urgent international investigation into Israel’s involvement in spraying internationally banned pesticides inside the Palestinian Gaza Strip, damaging crops.
PFIF received complaints from Palestinian farmers that Israeli warplanes sprayed herbicides inside the Gaza Strip and near the fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, resulting in damaging the crops.
Israel used light spraying planes to dump chemicals and agricultural pesticides to destroy and burn thousands of dunums of agricultural lands, which led to the yellowing of papers, their burning and subsequent deaths and heavy losses to farmers.
Several areas of damage caused by Israel’s spraying of pesticides within the Gaza Strip can be identified, most notably are:
- Soil erosion and invalidity for agriculture:
The pesticides used by Israel to burn crops are also anti-germinating for an estimated period of a month and spraying of pesticides in the border areas has begun intensively and several times in a year.
Israel’s policy of using the pesticide has soaked the soil with chemicals and toxic substances, which in turn has resulted in the loss of its fertility, vitality due to repeated and continuous use of this method in soil destruction.
If the infected crops are disposed of, the chemical residues left in the soil destroy the plants that are subsequently cultivated.
– Polluting Gaza Strip Air:
Israel’s use of spraying toxic pesticides during windy times from east to west led to the passage of the human breathing system by inhalation of oxygen saturated with volatile chemicals with the knowledge that the Gaza Strip suffers from overcrowding.
It threats to the lives of people in several forms, either directly through the transmission of poisonous pesticide through touch or inhalation or by mouth and eye in the event that the person close to those areas targeted by Israel daily spraying of farmers’ lands. It also threats them through indirect routes, like using Water, air and food contaminated with the effects of chemicals.
More than 70% of Gaza’s livestock is located on the eastern border, which is located near the area of chemical use, which in turn poses a serious danger to animal health, food, inhaled air, and the impact on humans as a result of eating meat.
Using these pesticides constantly led to the leakage into the groundwater reservoir throughout the soil, which led to contamination of drinking water with the knowledge that the quantity and proportion of potable water continues to decrease.
Groundwater is the main source for meeting the needs of the population in the Gaza Strip for drinking, agriculture, industry and all aspects of human activity. As a result of the increasing demand for water in the aquifer, water reserves have decreased significantly. With increased pumping from the aquifer, water degradation is expected to deteriorate further, as a natural result of large population growth and the need for diverse water supplies.
As for the problems of chemical pollution, it is noticeable that the water of the aquifer is increasingly salted continuously due to the increasing reduction of water, the intrusion of seawater, and the pollution caused by contaminated wastewater, and the addition of agricultural processes, fertilizers and pesticides.
The Israeli army has admitted years ago the act of spraying of herbicides by aircraft near the fence with the Gaza Strip to clear the ground.
The army said that the materials used in the spraying include glyphosate (“Round-Up”), a carcinogen that is banned by many countries of the world according to the World Health Organization because of the high health risks to human life , crops and organisms.
The Following is a list of the most important and dangerous pesticides used by Israel within the Gaza Strip:
A Contact with the Israeli company manufactured this pesticide by the Ministry of Agriculture has reported the name of the pesticide and the duration of its impact and through laboratory testing turned out to be a disinfectant and germination of seeds and plants.
Glyphosate is an herbicide. It is applied to the leaves of plants to kill both broadleaf plants and grasses. The sodium salt form of glyphosate is used to regulate plant growth and ripen fruit.
Pure glyphosate is low in toxicity, but products usually contain other ingredients that help the glyphosate get into the plants. The other ingredients in the product can make the product more toxic. Products containing glyphosate may cause eye or skin irritation. People who breathed in spray mist from products containing glyphosate felt irritation in their nose and throat. Swallowing products with glyphosate can cause increased saliva, burns in the mouth and throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Fatalities have been reported in cases of intentional ingestion.
When high doses were administered to laboratory animals, some studies suggest that glyphosate has carcinogenic potential. Studies on cancer rates in people have provided conflicting results on whether the use of glyphosate containing products is associated with cancer. Some studies have associated glyphosate use with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
It is a pesticide that carries a large percentage of dangerous toxins, and it takes 3 to 4 months to finish completely, which means reaching people’s mouths through crops with the carcinogenic substances that kill them.
PFIF affirms that such practices from Israel constitute a violation of human, animal and environmental rights and a violation of all other aspects of life in the border areas of the Gaza Strip. The destruction of large areas of seasonal agricultural crops has poisoned agricultural products.
In addition, the pollution of the air caused by these harmful substances, which has affected human health as a result of inhalation of these toxins, noting that there is a large preparation of the population living in the border areas and eating of these agricultural products.
In addition, these pesticides are sprayed in times that allow them to move in specific natural conditions to areas of more than five kilometers from the Gaza Strip border with Israel eastward to the Mediterranean coast to the west. This is an environmental problem by all standards and has significant repercussions due to the arrival of these materials to all residents of the region. And a plant and what represents a process of starvation, poisoning and killing of the Palestinian people living in the Gaza Strip.
The international community must take immediate steps to compel Israel to refrain from spraying air-borne pesticides in the Gaza Strip and near its territory, as these operations cause serious damage to agricultural crops and endanger the health of the Palestinian population
PFIF stresses that such Israeli practices constitute a violation of human rights and contravene international law, which requires immediate cessation. I also require a compensation for Palestinian farmers for their financial losses.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) also calls for the need to address Israeli practices against the agricultural sector in Gaza and provide support to improve food security in the sector.
The International Court of Justice must also prosecute Israel and hold it accountable for its continuing abuses of international law and to work on the implementation of its provisions.