TEL AVIV – The Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) on Tuesday threatened to sue Hamas in an international court for severe damage to land it owns surrounding the Gaza border area caused by mortars, rockets and attack kites from the coastal enclave.
Some 17,500 dunams (4,300 acres) of land have been burned in more than 350 fires since mid-April from terror kites and helium balloons outfitted with burning canisters of petrol and flown over the border by rioting Palestinians. Close to 3,000 dunams of that is KKL-JNF land.
KKL-JNF said it would recruit international law attorneys whose expertise lies in lawsuits of this kind.
“It is inconceivable that the international community would allow Hamas not to be held accountable and pay for its criminal acts — not only against the citizens of the state of Israel, but also against the environment, which has been severely hurt by this criminal environmental terrorism,” said KKL-JNF world chairman Daniel Atar on a tour of the damaged area on Tuesday.
“Hamas has proved it has no humanity,” Atar added. “Not just toward human beings, but also toward animals and natural resources.”
Atar continued, “We are going on a planting campaign with the children from the towns surrounding Gaza.”
“Hamas burns forests — we plant them,” said Atar. “We will prove that our lives here are founded on strength and growth.”
More than half of the land destroyed by the blazes are located in nature reserves. Ecologists have said the fires have greatly harmed local wildlife.
So far no one has been harmed as a result of the fires but they have racked up millions of shekels in damages to local farmers with more than 3,000 acres of wheat destroyed. Farmers from the Gaza border communities made the decision to move up the harvest date to avoid more damage to the wheat caused by the kites.
New blazes happen every day.
The kites have been decorated to include swastikas, the Palestinian flag and warnings to Israel.
The IDF purchased hundreds of drones designed to intercept the kites. The UAVs, assembled on existing drones such as the Pegasus 120, were provided within days of the first “kite attack” by the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure.
However, for the most part Israel is combating the “kite terror” by responding as quickly as possible to fires before they spread.
Farmers are also helping the authorities by digging up areas of soil surrounding a fire in order to contain it.