Gaza-area farmers to file ICC suit against ‘kite terror’
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Gaza-area farmers to file ICC suit against ‘kite terror’

Shurat HaDin NGO says ‘Israel will not remain silent’ in face of flaming kites flown from Strip, which have sparked some 100 fires in nearby fields

An undated photo of an Israeli farmer in the Gaza-area driving his tractor next to a  field apparently set aflame by a burning kite flown from the Gaza Strip. (Courtesy)
An undated photo of an Israeli farmer in the Gaza-area driving his tractor next to a field apparently set aflame by a burning kite flown from the Gaza Strip. (Courtesy)

Farmers in the Gaza area will file suit at the International Criminal Court against Hamas leaders over the flying of hundreds of flaming “terror kites” from the Palestinian enclave into Israel, which have burned fields and led to an estimated tens of millions of shekels in damages.

The farmers, who announced the planned lawsuit in a press release on Sunday, said they would submit the complaint in response to the Palestinian Authority’s stated intention to file suit against Israel over its handling of clashes on the border with the Gaza Strip.

The complaint will be lodged against Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in Gaza, and Ismail Haniyeh, the overall head of the terror group, as well as other senior Hamas members.

The Shurat HaDin NGO, which is helping file the suit, called on additional farmers to join the complaint.

“Israel will not remain silent. The current security situation, in which fields and forests in Israel are burned every day by activists of a terrorist organization, is inconceivable,” Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, the president of Shurat HaDin, said in the statement.

“It cannot be that senior Hamas officials will accuse Israel of war crimes while using a civilian population, especially children, as human shields for their terrorist activities — which are repeatedly targeted at Israeli citizens,” added Darshan-Leitner. “Therefore, we call on the International Criminal Court in The Hague to exact justice upon them.”

Palestinians pose behind kites before trying to fly them over the border fence with Israel, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on May 4, 2018. Palestinians taking part in weekly clashes on the border have adopted a new tactic of attaching firebombs to kites to fly over the border fence into Israel. (AFP Photo/Said Khatib)

The flying of kites carrying burning material has become a widely adopted tactic during the weekly “March of Return” clashes on the Gaza border, which Israel accuses Hamas of orchestrating and using as a cover to carry out attacks and attempt to breach the border fence.

The violent demonstrations were meant to end on May 15, but Hamas leaders have said they want them to continue.

Over the weekend, dozens of burning kites were flown from Gaza across the border, sparking several fires in Israeli fields, Hadashot TV news reported Saturday night. In the past month, 300 “attack” kites have been flown across the border, the report said, setting off 100 fires and causing an estimated tens of millions of shekels worth of damages.

Military planners have begun implementing new measures to combat the assaults, including options drawn from the IDF’s responses to rocket launches and other terror attacks.

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