In light of the recent spate of incendiary “Kite Terror” attacks from Gaza plaguing their fields, Israeli farmers from the region announced Sunday that they intend to sue the Hamas leadership for war crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.
The announcement comes after the Palestinians announced that they intend to take Israel to the ICC after the recent deadly clashes on the Gaza border.
The Israeli farmers, who are filing their lawsuit with the assistance of the legal aid organization Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, are specifically targeting Hamas military wing leader Yahya Sinwar and political leader Ismail Haniyeh.
It is the first legal response to the “kite terror” which has become a source of extreme anxiety for farmers in the border vicinity. Among the plaintiffs are security officer of Kibbutz Alumim, Rafi Babian, and the agricultural director at Kibbutz Nir Am, Ofer Lieberman, who saw 1,000 dunams of wheat fields destroyed at his Kibbutz in the last two weeks alone.
The farmers are highlighting Palestinian violations of the Rome Convention including the burning of agricultural land by using incendiary kites, attacking the borders of Israel, using children for conducting warfare and using a civilian population as human shields.
Thirty four towns and Kibbutzim whose fields suffered fires caused by the kites from Gaza announced their participation in the lawsuit against the Hamas leaders.
The heads of the local councils, Shai Hajaj and Tamir Idan, said: "Whoever launches a burning kite with the aim of setting a fire and causing bodily harm, plants bombs, builds terror tunnels, is a terrorist in every sense. Terrorism is terrorism, whether it is 'primitive' or sophisticated.
"There is no difference between terrorism in Gaza and terror from ISIS. The whole world must unite against Islamic terrorism and allow for a quiet and calm life in Paris, Munich and here in Israel … We want to live here in peace and we miss the times when there were business collaborations between Gaza and the southern communities in Israel," he continued.
Shurat HaDin is calling on farmers and citizens to join the lawsuit. Its Director Attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner vowed that Israel would deal with the matter legally.
"Israel will not remain silent. The current security situation, in which fields and forests in Israel are being burned every day by activists of a terrorist organization, is unacceptable," she said.
"It is inconceivable that Hamas leaders accuse Israel of war crimes while using the civilian population, especially children, as human shields for their terror, which is directed time and time again towards the citizens of Israel. Therefore we call on the International Criminal Court in The Hague to bring them to justice."