August 8, 2020

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08-May-18: War crimes, incendiary neighbors
Image Source

People who have suffered the usually-minor indignity of having passers-by or neighbors flick a still-lit cigarette into their homes or gardens will have an advantage in relating to the latest technological ‘breakthrough’ to emerge from Gaza.

As Ynet reported on Monday evening [“Incendiary balloons from Gaza cause damage to Israeli fields“, May 07, 2018]
Several incendiary balloons flown from the Gaza Strip on Monday afternoon caused fires in seven different locations on the Israeli side of the border. No one was hurt, but great damage was caused… The incendiary balloons, like incendiary kites, are affixed with an already-lit Molotov cocktail [fire bomb]… The westerly winds push the balloons, which are filled with helium gas, towards Israel. After a short while in the air, the fire from the Molotov cocktail causes the balloon to explode in midair, with the incendiary contraption dropping to the ground. The IDF has been working on a solution to thwart these contraptions by intercepting them using drones before they can land in Israel and cause damage.

At this point, we know of one such incendiary device igniting wheat fields on the land of Kibbutz Mefalsim in the Shaar HaNegev Regional Council. Another landed in the Eshkol region’s Be’eri Forest, setting off a blaze. With spring turning to summer and harvest time, the economic losses are significant to the agricultural communities attacked by the Palestinian Arabs.

An incendiary kite flown Wednesday from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian terrorists caused a huge fire in the Be’eri Forest in southern Israel that continued to rage into the evening. No casualties were reported. The conflagration is the biggest to have erupted since Palestinians in the strip began flying the incendiary kites across the border. By 7:30pm, the fire continued to slowly reduce hundreds of dunams of woodland to ash, as ten firefighter teams scrambled to contain it, battling high temperatures, dry weather and strong easterly winds that fanned the flames. Incendiary kites are the latest improvised weapon to have been added to the Palestinian rioters’ arsenal as part of the weekly “March of Return” protests on the Gaza Border, enabling Palestinian rioters to wreak havoc on Israel’s southern towns without approaching the border fence and risking their lives.  Around three to four of the kites are sent across the Gaza-Israel border each day, and have so far incinerated agricultural lands in Israel’s southern region, with wheat fields being set aflame and ecological damage caused to the country. 

Shedding some dim light on the state of mind of the pyromaniacs, images of Gazan kites (like the one below) festooned with Nazi swastikas accompany many of the reports.

Image Source: AP

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court – the treaty that established it and entered into force on 1 July 2002 – defines destroying the environment, even if no one is killed, as a war crime. In September 2016, the ICC prosecution issued a policy directive stating that it would place a special priority on prosecuting war crimes against the environment, something it had never done until then.

Hard not to notice the tone of pride and enthusiasm as certain media outlets report on the incendiary attacks by Gazan Palestinian Arabs. “Palestinian ‘Fire Kites’ Spark Huge Blaze in Zionist Settlements near Gaza Border” [Al Manar, May 02, 2018] for instance, and “Flaming kites mark fifth Friday of Gaza protests” [Mondoweiss, April 29, 2018].

Almost as if burning down the neighhbours’ crops – or setting mountains of rubber tires ablaze and generating carcinogenic smoke and fumes – will get the attackers a better life. 

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