On Tuesday, during a conference held in the Knesset to examine possibilities for postwar Gaza, Gamliel said: “At the end of the war, Hamas rule will collapse. There are no municipal authorities; the civilian population will be entirely dependent on humanitarian aid. There will be no work, and 60% of Gaza’s agricultural land will become security buffer zones.”


Under whose proposal is the idea of designating 60% of Gaza's agricultural land as security buffer zones being considered? During a conference a person said that 60% of Gaza's agricultural land will become security buffer zone. It seems like he's referring to some proposal, but I haven't heard anything from this, and I would like to know from whom it comes from, because I am not sure it was a proposal that the U.S. supports.


2 Answers 2


How does the proposal to designate 60% of Gaza's agricultural land as security buffer zones align with international law and norms?

Maybe you could argue that one principle or another of international law or norms applied in some way, but this is, to a great extent, a unique situation and one not contemplated by the drafters of treaties and treatises on international law.

On one hand, Israel have sovereign authority over Gaza, so the default rule is that it has life and death authority over everything that happens there, without foreign interference in its internal affairs. Countries also have broad authority to protect their own national security.

On the other hand, Gaza is essentially a non-sovereign colony ruled by Israel but not having a final say over its own governance. Colonies and areas of political dependency without a say in the government that rules them are disfavored in modern Western political thought, but many countries have them anyway (e.g., the U.S. has the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam and American Samoa). Self-governance is a desirable thing for colonies of this kind, but international diplomats didn't complain too much, for example, during the long period of time when Hong Kong was under British rule without meaningful self-governance.

Certainly, there is no international law or norm that requires a country or colony to be capable of providing all of its own food locally. As a comment from JonathanReez to the OP notes, Gaza technologically incapable of growing enough food to feed the people who live there even with all of its current agricultural land.

But, international law and norms do require that the human rights of people in territory controlled by a sovereign country to be protected by the sovereign country in control of that territory, although only a few remedies are available to the international community if this obligation is not observed.

Removing the ability to generate one's own food and preventing food imports, resulting in the people of a territory starving to death, does violate international law and norms. But if people in a territory can feed themselves through some combination of importing food and growing their own, this isn't an international law issue.

Taking private property without compensation is also potentially an issue, but national security concerns sometimes override a country's obligation to do so. The economic value of agricultural land in Gaza, if its owners were compensated, probably isn't all that great in any case, if Israel choses to pay for it.

Under whose proposal is the idea of designating 60% of Gaza's agricultural land as security buffer zones being considered?

I do not know the answer to this part of the question.

  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Politics Meta, or in Politics Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 4 at 17:43
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    @OwenReynolds - You saw the statement that "On the other hand, Gaza is essentially a non-sovereign colony ruled by Israel but not having a final say over its own governance" being very much in favor of Israel? OK.... While I cannot speak for the author of the answer by any means, if you were familiar with the general support for statehood or independence of Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico among left-leaning people in the U.S.A., I think you would probably see that that comparison does not throw a favorable light on Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jan 4 at 18:08
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    Why are there no references in this answer? How can you make a claim like "Israel have sovereign authority over Gaza" without providing any evidence? In actual fact Gaza is an occupied territory and Israel does not have sovereign authority.
    – Ben Cohen
    Jan 4 at 23:12
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    "The economic value of agricultural land in Gaza" is probably very low because Israel controls that economy and wants it to be low. It doesn't actually tell us any useful information. Jan 4 at 23:58

Lies, damned lies, and statistics - the statement quoted in the OP might be technically true, but is mostly aimed at discrediting whatever arrangements Israel is proposing to ensure the mutual security of the Israels and the Gazans.

According to Reuters:

A senior Israeli security source said the buffer zone idea was "being examined", adding: "It is not clear at the moment how deep this will be and whether it could be 1 km or 2 km or hundreds of metres (inside Gaza)."

Any encroachment into Gaza, which is about 40 km (25 miles) long and between about 5 km (3 miles) and 12 km (7.5 miles) wide, would cram its 2.3 million people into an even smaller area.

In Washington, an Israeli official said the Israeli defense establishment was talking about "some kind of security buffer on the Gaza side of the border so that Hamas cannot gather military capabilities close to the border and surprise Israel again."

"It is a security measure, not a political one," the official said on condition of anonymity. "We do not intend to remain on the Gaza side of the border."

Assuming that Gaza is a rectangle, two sides of which border Israel, the security zone of 1 kilometer would take about 50 square kilometers, out of about 400 square kilometers area - that is about 12% of the territory. This is a lot, but whether it constitutes 60% of agricultural land is open to debate. It is also not clear what security/buffer zone really means - that it is totally inaccessible or that, e.g., it should not contain any buildings, so that any movements can be observed - in which case using it as an agricultural land is perfectly possible.

Following up the discussion in the comments: the statement was made by the Israeli intelligence minister Gila Galmiel, who belongs to the faction advocating migration of Gazans to other Arab countries. It still however aims at dismissing the idea that Israel and Gaza could peacefully coexist. I think the caveats about this argument outlined above remain valid.

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    It's a statement made by an Israeli minister, in the Israeli parliament. How can it be trying to discredit and arrangment Israel (or the government thereof) is proposing?
    – Darren
    Jan 4 at 13:50
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    Also downvoted for this comment; "...the mutual security of the Israels and the Gazans." The security of Gazan citizens has clearly not been on anyone in the Israeli Government's mind since day 1.
    – Darren
    Jan 4 at 13:51
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    Comment to your update: Is there a "faction"? Is not the relocation of all Gazans pretty much a national policy now (stated or implied)? C.f. Illegal settelements in The West Bank etc.
    – Darren
    Jan 4 at 14:48
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    There was a nice PBS documentary "Failure at the Fence" which explained how there is a cleared area inside the fence where remote-controlled machine guns are supposed to fire on anyone approaching (the person they interviewed said she refrained from firing at a few children wandered near). So that sounds closer to "totally inaccessible". Jan 4 at 17:54
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    @RogerV. Israelis and Jews aren't the same group. Note that people's opinion depends equally as much on whether they like Muslims or not. Jan 5 at 0:00

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