Israeli Soldiers Clearing Buffer Zone in Gaza Die in Blast

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“There is simply no provision in the Geneva Conventions for what Israel is doing along the border, which is kind of a pre-emptive clearing of property,” said Professor Rajagopal, an expert in law and development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“On a particular property-by-property basis, Israel can take action, but not on a widespread basis across the entire border,” Professor Rajagopal said. “Israel, as the occupying power, has an obligation not to engage in what’s called wanton destruction of property.”

The Israeli military did not respond to a request for comment on the claims.

The United States on Tuesday reiterated its opposition to any buffer zone inside Gaza. “We do not want to see the territory of Gaza reduced in any way,” John F. Kirby, a National Security Council spokesman, told reporters at the White House. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, speaking at a news conference in Abuja, Nigeria, added that the Biden administration might be open to “transitional arrangements.”

While Israel has never formally announced the demolition of Palestinian border homes, the concept of a buffer zone along the Gazan border has been widely discussed by the Israeli news media since early December, when the idea was reported by Reuters.

Israeli government ministers have also hinted at plans to create such a zone since the first weeks of the war. Eli Cohen, the foreign minister at the time, said that after the war, “the territory of Gaza will also decrease.”

Days later, Avi Dichter, the agriculture minister, spoke of creating “a margin” along the Gaza border. “No matter who you are, you will never be able to come close to the Israeli border,” Mr. Dichter said.

Patrick Kingsley and Ronen Bergman reported from Jerusalem, and Ameera Harouda from Doha, Qatar. Reporting was contributed by Michael Levenson, Matthew Mpoke Bigg, Gabby Sobelman, Rawan Sheikh Ahmad, Adam Rasgon, Victoria Kim, Johnatan Reiss, Hiba Yazbek, Anushka Patil , Erica L. Green and Michael Crowley.

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Israeli Soldiers Clearing Buffer Zone in Gaza Die in Blast

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