<<previous  |  index  |  next>>

Map 9: Razing of Agriculture

Map Nine
Download pdf version of Map 9 (1 Mb)

Razing Agricultural Land

The IDF also systematically destroyed two large agricultural areas in Tel al-Sultan, both filled with greenhouses for fruits, flowers and vegetables.  In total, D9 bulldozers razed 298 donums (29.8 hectares) of land.277

Satellite imagery shows the areas of greenhouses replaced by barren land.  Human Rights Watch researchers visited both plots, now filled with dirt mounds and crumpled metal frames.  Both areas are more than one kilometer away from the border and not near any Jewish settlements.

agriculture image
A barren wasteland is all that remains of nearly 30 hectares of agricultural land that had been filled with greenhouses containing fruit, flowers, and vegetables before it was destroyed by the IDF.
(c) 2004 Fred Abrahams/Human Rights Watch

The destruction of agricultural land took place in a context in which military necessity could not have justified it.  The area was under IDF control at the time of the destruction and resistance was minimal, if existent at all (see section above on Tel al-Sultan).  Even if there had been resistance, it is unclear what military advantage destroying large swaths of agricultural land so far from the border would provide. 

As with the destruction of roads and certain houses, the IDF invoked the threat of IEDs on roads to justify destruction of agricultural land: “IDF vehicles were forced to refrain from traveling on these roads and navigated through the surrounding fields, or other roads, instead,” a letter from the spokesperson’s office said.278  While this explains why military vehicles may have traveled through fields, it does not explain why bulldozers spent at least two days systematically destroying every greenhouse in two large areas.

[277] Human Rights Watch saw both these large tracts of land but the precise figure of 298 donums comes from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Weekly Report No 20/2004, 20-26 May, 2004.

[278] Letter from Major Sam Wiedermann, Head of International Organizations Desk, IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, to Human Rights Watch, August 22, 2004.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>October 2004