Israel destroyed almost all Palestinian buildings in Gaza 'buffer zone': UN

Israel destroyed almost all Palestinian buildings in Gaza 'buffer zone': UN
The UN reports extensive destruction of Palestinian structures in Gaza's buffer zone by the Israeli forces raising further concerns of potential war crimes.
2 min read
16 April, 2024

Almost all Palestinian structures alongside the Gaza buffer zone with Israel have been destroyed, according to images published by the United Nations Satellite Center.

The 11 April UN report assessed the destruction and damage to buildings located within a kilometre of the strip's border with Israel, where Israeli forces have been systematically demolishing structures since their relentless onslaught on Gaza began on 7 October.

The report found that 90 percent of the structures within the buffer zone were destroyed or damaged since the images were last analysed on 29 February, resulting in the complete demolition of 3,033 buildings, severe damage of 327 buildings, and moderate damage of 266 buildings.

The actual number in the buffer zone could be higher.

An analysis by the Israeli daily Haaretz found that the damage extended up to 1,200 metres from the border, surpassing the area analysed by the UN report by about 200 metres. 

The UN report "looks like it is relatively close to the absolute truth", the daily reported citing an expert in GIS.

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The UN Satellite Center (UNOSAT) monitors developments in the Gaza conflict through the analysis of high-resolution satellite imagery. This method is crucial as Israel bars the entry of journalists into the Gaza Strip.

Israel wants to nearly double the size of the buffer zone that existed within the Gaza Strip before 7 October, through mass destruction of the enclave. The Israeli army has released very limited details about its plans, which has provoked criticism from the international community.

Earlier this year, Israeli media reported that Israel's military was looking to create a security belt about a kilometre wide along the border of Gaza by levelling entire residential blocks and bulldozing farms and civilian infrastructures.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, said the reported project might constitute a war crime.

Israel's biggest ally, the US, has previously said it would object to any proposed buffer zone inside the Gaza Strip and that it opposed any plans to change the size of Gaza after the war.