The Speculated Tactics
Israeli Military’s Actions: Experts are sounding the alarm over allegations that the Israeli army is systematically destroying buildings within one kilometer of the Gaza border to create a buffer zone. This strategy, they claim, leaves a significant number of Palestinians without homes.
Examining the Impact
Destruction Statistics: Following the October 2023 Hamas attack, Professor Adi Ben Nun reports that more than 30% of the structures within the targeted area were damaged or destroyed. The IDF’s approach has sparked concerns about the potential loss of habitable land in the already limited Gaza Strip.
A Revealing Incident
IDF’s Explanation: The incident on January 22, resulting in the death of 21 Israeli soldiers, shed light on the IDF’s tactics. Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi stated that the explosion occurred during a defensive operation, emphasizing the need to secure Israeli residential areas from the Gaza Strip.
Legal and Ethical Concerns
Possible Violations: Experts argue that forcing Gazans to leave their residences, especially in border areas, might violate the laws of war. Some suggest that the IDF’s actions are rendering many parts of the Gaza Strip uninhabitable, raising questions about potential ethical and legal consequences.
U.S. Stance: Despite being a key ally of Israel, the United States has cautioned against changes to the Gaza Strip territory and the creation of a buffer zone if it violates established principles. The concern extends to potential violations of international law, including the prospect of ethnic cleansing.
Calls for Caution and Alternatives
Ethical Considerations: Cecilie Hellestveit, an expert at the Norwegian Academy of International Law, warns of the potential for ethnic cleansing and urges careful consideration of alternatives to ensure the well-being of the Palestinian people.
Security Buffer Zone: Human rights experts propose that if Israel needs a security buffer zone, it should be established within its own territory rather than occupying land in the Gaza Strip. This suggestion aims to balance security needs with ethical and legal responsibilities.
The Local Perspective
Israeli Security Priority: With border area security topping the agenda for many Israelis, the establishment of a buffer zone is seen as essential for the safe return of residents to areas near the Gaza Strip. This perspective aligns with the desire to demonstrate that Hamas no longer poses a threat.
Gaza’s Complex History: Israel’s control of the Gaza Strip since 1967, followed by a unilateral withdrawal in 2005, has left the region under significant influence. The proposed buffer zone reintroduces discussions from the early 2000s, indicating a revisitation of old plans in light of current circumstances.
In a climate of uncertainty, the alleged plan for a buffer zone in Gaza continues to draw attention, raising questions about its potential impact on both a local and international scale.