Above is a view of an Israeli guard tower (at right) on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip–one of scores of such towers. The rubble in the foreground is the remains of a house the Israelis destroyed before they pulled out of the Strip last January. Between the rubble and the border (which you can make out as a faint gray horizontal line crossing at the tower) is Palestinian farmland, which Palestinians are now afraid to use.
Maybe you saw reports that Israel has declared a no-man's-land, or 300-meter "buffer zone" along the north and east borders of the Gaza Strip? You'd think that if you wanted a buffer zone with your neighbor, you'd stake it out on your own land. No: Israel has decreed the buffer on the Palestinian side; and Abedlakrim Aashour, of the agricultural development authority in Gaza (PARC), told my delegation that this order effectively seizes up to 25 percent of the arable land in the territory, putting huge pressure on the people.
"When they say 300 meters, the zone goes 800 to 1000 meters, because people are scared to go into their fields," he said. And this zone is the "bread basket" of Gaza. It is also one of the "main resources for water."
Below are pictures are of a leaflet that the Israelis dropped on Gaza in late May describing the creation of the buffer zone. (On the top is the northern Strip; at bottom, the reverse side of the leaflet, is the southern Strip.) It was shown to us by Jenny, a volunteer from the U.K. for the International Solidarity Movement. She has been assisting farmers since she got to Gaza several months ago.