Satellite images reveal New demolitions According to The Associated Press and expert reports, a 1-kilometer-wide strip along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Destruction is coming as Israel said A buffer zone should be established Despite objections from the international community—on the spot— Holding more land Palestinians want to create their own country.
Demolition piece Indicates a pattern of extensive damage Left behind by the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza – according to one estimate – is this Half the buildings were damaged or destroyed of the Palestinian Territory.
The Israeli government has indicated that it wants to establish a buffer zone As a defensive measure, It argued that it could prevent a repeat of a cross-border attack like the one carried out by Hamas on October 7, which triggered a conflict. Almost four months. Israel's actions have come in defiance of US warnings not to cut Gaza.
To an open-ended question from the AP, the Israeli armed forces refused to answer whether they were actually in the process of establishing a separation zone, limiting themselves to saying “a number of coercive measures are required to implement a security plan.” Greater security in southern Israel. However, the army has admitted to demolishing buildings across the area.
An Israeli government official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions, said a “temporary security zone” was being built.
But the scale of the demolitions raises the question of how temporary a potential containment zone would be.
Where is the proposed separation zone located?
Gaza stocks A border of almost 60 km With Israel, the Mediterranean on the other side. Around 60 square kilometers will be lost by setting up the buffer zone (23 square miles) For the Gaza Strip, its total land area is about 360 square kilometers.
South of the Gaza Strip, most of the land is included in the proposed containment zone They are agricultural lands A $1 billion border wall was built to separate itself from Israeli territory. But near the city of Kusa, where the border turns northwest, the story is different.
Planet Labs satellite images analyzed by the AP program Significant destruction of buildings and land It was tested An area of about 6 square kilometers. 4 km to the north, the lands have been cleared while the security zone is to be set up.
Also to the north is a section of the Makasi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. There, who is the Israeli reservation They were preparing explosives to demolish two buildings He died near the border with Israel last month when a fighter jet dropped a rocket-propelled grenade on a tank near the site. The bomb exploded Both buildings collapsed on soldiers. More than 20 of them were killed.
Observed south-east of Gaza City, and possibly within the buffer zone A large complex of destroyed warehouses.
AP's visual analysis is consistent with scientists studying satellite data to understand war damage.
Adi Ben-Nun, manager of the Center for Geographic Information Systems at Israel's Hebrew University, has assessed damage in the buffer zone as of January 17. Nearly 2,850 buildings could be destroyed 1,100 of them have already been damaged, he told the AP. He estimates that there are about 80,000 structures damaged during the war across the Gaza Strip.
Corey Sher of the City University of New York and Jamon van den Hoek of Oregon State University calculate that The damage is even greater. They estimate that at least half of all buildings in Gaza, some 143,900 structures, have been damaged or destroyed during the war.. The most serious damage was reported around Gaza City Devastation is mounting in the southern city of Khan Younis – the first city hit by Israel during the ground offensive.
In the area where the 1-kilometer buffer zone is located, at least 1,329 structures have been destroyed or damaged since the war began, U.S. inspectors told the AP.
Gaza's border with Egypt It already has a narrow separation zoneKnown as the Philadelphia Corridor, it was created as part of the 1979 peace treaty between Cairo and Israel.
What is the response of the international community?
Egyptian and Western diplomats told the AP that Israel informed its Western allies and Arab countries last December of its plans to establish a buffer zone between the Gaza Strip and Israeli territory. At that timeDetails are not included in the discussions.
The news of the separation zone caused concern in the international communityAnd for the loss of Palestinian territoryEspecially from the US, which has been Israel's main protector during the conflict.
“We are against any reduction of the Gaza Strip,” Foreign Secretary Anthony Blinken warned on January 25.
The State Department did not respond to AP's questions about the analysis of demolitions in the potential buffer zone. However, agency spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Wednesday that “(Israeli) officials have raised the issue of creating a buffer zone.”
“I would say that we have made it clear to them what we have said publicly, and that is that We are against downsizing In the Gaza Strip,” Miller pointed out.
What do the Palestinians say?
while, There is a continuous growth of Israeli settlements In the Palestinian territories of the West Bank during the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
That further undermining the prospects for an independent Palestinian state It was part of the two-state solution during the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Palestinians want the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip – territories captured by Israel during the 1967 Middle East war – for their future state.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry, under the Palestinian Authority that governs the West Bank, said in a statement, “Israel continues to implement its plans of aggression and colonization In the Gaza Strip, this is evident in the recent initiation of so-called 'safe zones' along the borders of the Gaza Strip.”
The group responded when asked by Basem Naim, a senior leader of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, about Israel's possible plans to establish a buffer zone. “This cannot be allowed”. He didn't go into details.
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