In UN appeal, southern Israelis to accuse Hamas of violating their human rights

Local residents look to issue a plea to international body after repeated, unofficial ceasefire deals fail to achieve peace while arson attacks continue

Residents of southern Israel demand quiet on the Gaza border, Tel Aviv, August 18, 2018. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
Residents of southern Israel demand quiet on the Gaza border, Tel Aviv, August 18, 2018. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

Residents of southern Israel are preparing to appeal to the United Nations with charges that the Palestinian terror group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and seeks to destroy Israel, is violating their human rights.

The communities are planning the appeal in response to the ongoing launching of incendiary devices from Gaza into Israel, which continued over the weekend despite an unofficial truce recently renewed between the Israeli government and Hamas, according to a Saturday report by Channel 12 news.

Residents of the affected southern Israeli areas and local political leaders were checking the legal requirements for issuing an independent appeal to the UN, according to the report.

The communities closest to Gaza have also been pummeled in recent years by repeated rounds of violence in which Palestinian terror groups have launched countless rocket and mortar attacks. Over the past year, weekly border protests have drawn thousands of Gazan demonstrators to the security fence in events that often turn violent, with riots and efforts to break through the fence.

Palestinians clash with Israeli forces on the Israel-Gaza border near Gaza City, June 28, 2019. (Hassan Jedi/Flash90)

Additionally, a near-constant stream of incendiary devices launched from Gaza has decimated southern Israel’s wildlife and agriculture.

This week approximately 100 fires were started by balloon-borne arson devices launched from Gaza, according to figures from the local fire departments.

In response to the ongoing attacks — a breach of an unofficial ceasefire agreement between Israel and Gaza terror groups — Israel halted the flow of gasoline and diesel fuel into the Strip on Tuesday, a move that drew criticism from human rights advocates who condemned it as collective punishment.

On Friday, as part of a renewed truce agreement, an unnamed Israeli official confirmed that Israel had resumed fuel deliveries that were cut off earlier in the week and extended the fishing zone up to 15 nautical miles from 10. Israel does not officially recognize ceasefire deals or negotiations with Hamas, an Islamist terror group that rules Gaza and seeks to destroy Israel.

The official said that in return, Hamas “promised to halt the attacks on Israel,” a reference to the incendiary balloons.

Friday saw a rash of fires near the border, however, and at least one fire broke out near Kibbutz Nir Am on Saturday.

Illustrative: Palestinians prepare balloon-borne incendiary devices to launch at Israel, at the Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on May 31, 2019. (Hassan Jedi/Flash90)

Israel has been reluctant to use deadly force against the groups launching the balloons and instead tends to retaliate to attacks by restricting Gaza’s fishing zone. Residents of southern Israel have repeatedly called on the army to use greater force to prevent the arson attacks.

Southern Israelis have accused the government of generally neglecting their security, and treating them as “cannon fodder,” as Jerusalem tries to barter with Hamas for quiet.

Israel has also allowed Qatar to periodically send cash deliveries to Gaza in an attempt to mollify Hamas, which has become violent when it says Israel delays or prevents the cash deliveries from crossing the border.

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