(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
Following the continuous terrorist activity directed at Israel, the IDF has decided to implement a "no-go-zone" in the northern section of the Gaza Strip. The following document summarizes which decisions and actions the IDF has taken until now, and explanations as to why they have been made.
In the absence of any action taken by the Palestinian Authority to stop terrorism originating from the Gaza Strip, and in light of continuous firing of projectile rockets from the Gaza Strip at heavily populated Israeli communities, as well as at strategic facilities in Israel, the IDF has stepped up its activities against rocket-launching terror cells in the northern Gaza Strip.
The zone encircles three former Jewish settlements (see map) that were evacuated during the Disengagement Plan – Dugit, Nisanit and Aley Sinai. Since the implementation of the Disengagement Plan, Palestinian terrorists have continued to take advantage of an "Israeli-free" environment to conduct their terrorist activities.
Map indicating the "No-go Zone" in the northern Gaza Strip
Although the Disengagement period was relatively "quiet" in terms of high-trajectory fire, the period that closely followed the implementation of the Disengagement Plan paved the way for Palestinian terrorists who increased the number of high-trajectory attacks on Israel, particularly in the month of December: during the week of 14 November 2005 there were two incidents, increasing to 14 during the week of 28 November 2005, and reaching a staggering total of 32 attacks during the week of 12 December 2005.
The no-go zone not only assists Israel in preventing the attacks, but also pushes the terrorists and their launchers further into the Gaza Strip, shortening their range of fire. The sole purpose of the no-go zone is to inhibit high-trajectory assaults and to defend the communities and property of the citizens of Israel. This applies particularly to those in close proximity to the northern part of the Gaza Strip which is subject to continual threat and attack: the villages surrounding the strip, the western Negev and south of the city of Ashkelon.
Coordination meetings have been held between IDF officials and their Palestinian counterparts on the subject of warning the Palestinian population in the northern Gaza Strip. During the course of the meetings, the officials presented their Palestinian counterparts with a map specifically detailing the area that Palestinians are called not to enter for their personal security.
In order to enable pinpoint activity against the projectile rocket launchers while minimizing harm to the civilian population, the IDF addressed the Palestinian population living near projectile rocket launching grounds, via leaflets distributed from the air, and warned them that they are not to pass through certain defined areas for a limited period of time. The IDF allowed the Palestinian population a number of hours in order to get organized, prior to the enhancement of its activity in the area.
At the end of this period of time, the IDF stepped up its activity against the terror cells in the projectile rocket launching grounds, both from the air and from the ground. This is all being done while abiding by international law and the warfare values of the IDF. Simultaneously, the IDF has enabled the Palestinian population to operate a humanitarian route during the last two weeks, allowing, among others, continuous traffic of ambulances, medical teams, and evacuation vehicles, and movement of international organizations, with emphasis on assistance authorities (UNRWA, the Red Cross, etc.).