The World Jewish Congress has submitted a petition to the United Nations with over 22,000 signatures condemning Hamas's environmental crimes—the fires caused by incendiary kites and balloons flown from Gaza into Israel over the past five months.
Hamas's kite and balloon terrorism caused the death of hundreds of animals and the destruction of over than 33,000 dunams (8,000 acres) of farmland and woodland.
The petition was submitted by the CEO and Executive Vice President of the World Jewish Congress, Robert Singer, to the Deputy Director of the UN Environment Program (UNEP) Jamil Ahmad.
Singer praised the UNEP for its work to protect the environment. However, he called on Ahmad and the organizations he heads to join the World Jewish Congress and the other signatories in condemning the terror organization's environmental warfare.
"Hamas is committing consistent environmental crimes, burning thousands of tires and launching thousands of incendiary devices into Israeli territory in a deliberate and inexcusable act of environmental warfare," Singer said. "Attacks against innocent beings is never acceptable, and today we are seeing both animals and nature being targeted as victims of war."
“The combined effect of these heinous acts over the last five months have killed hundreds of animals, destroyed more than 8,000 acres of land, including 2,700 acres of protected nature reserves, and led to the release of toxic materials into the fragile ecosystem but has also to the release of toxic materials into the fragile ecosystem,” Singer elaborated.
“Local wildlife is either killed or forced to flee their native habitats. Forests and farmland have been ravaged. And the livelihood of the thousands of farmers who have committed their lives to turning what was once desert into an oasis has been shattered. It will take years to reverse the ecological damage caused by Hamas,” he went on to say.
Singer stressed that according to the International Humanitarian Law, which is protected by the UN, causing natural environmental destruction amid violent conflicts is prohibited.
"However," Singer pointed out that the "international community remains silent while Hamas practices environmental warfare, which jeopardizes Israeli citizens and wild animals."
Singer explained that the terror organization is destroying the beauty and natural resources of southern Israel.
"The international Law prohibits using methods or warfare meant to cause severe, long-term, and wide-scale damage. It is evident Hamas is intentionally causing environmental damage which constitutes a crime against the environment," he said.
“We hope UNEP will join us in condemning this environmental warfare and use all necessary measures at their disposal to ensure that these illegal actions cease immediately. As Mr. Ahmad has said, 'animals don’t have passports'. We must do everything in our power to protect the environment against attack," the World Jewish Congress CEO elucidated.
Vice President of the World Jewish Congress, Sonia Gomes de Mesquita, presented the petition on Monday to the chairman of the Knesset's Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, MK Yoav Kish.
The World Jewish Congress also plans to pass on the petition to all the southern regional councils harmed by the kite and balloon terrorism.