The Age of Extinction: ‘Ecocide in Gaza’


Kaamil Ahmed, Damien Gayle and Aseel Mousa | The Guardian – TRANSCEND Media Service

An Israeli tank passes wild flowers near Gaza’s border. The IDF carved new roads out of farmland when it invaded. With much of Gaza’s farms, greenhouses and orchards destroyed, many are asking if the population will be able to grow food any more. Photograph: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty

Does Scale of Environmental Destruction Amount to a War Crime? Satellite analysis revealed to the Guardian shows farms devastated and nearly half of the territory’s trees razed. Alongside mounting air and water pollution, experts says Israel’s onslaught on Gaza’s ecosystems has made the area unlivable.

29 Mar 2024In a dilapidated warehouse in Rafah, Soha Abu Diab is living with her three young daughters and more than 20 other family members. They have no running water, no fuel and are surrounded by running sewage and waste piling up.

Like the rest of Gaza’s residents, they fear the air they breathe is heavy with pollutants and that the water carries disease. Beyond the city streets lie razed orchards and olive groves, and farmland destroyed by bombs and bulldozers.

“This life is not life,” says Abu Diab, who was displaced from Gaza City. “There is pollution everywhere – in the air, in the water we bathe in, in the water we drink, in the food we eat, in the area around us.”

For her family and thousands of others, the human cost of Israel’s invasion of Gaza, launched after the Hamas attack on 7 October, is being compounded by an environmental crisis.

The al-Naji family break their fast during Ramadan amid the ruins of their home in Deir al-Balah. Photograph: AFP/Getty

The full extent of the damage in Gaza has not yet been documented, but analysis of satellite imagery provided to the Guardian shows the destruction of about 38-48% of tree cover and farmland.

Olive groves and farms have been reduced to packed earth; soil and groundwater have been contaminated by munitions and toxins; the sea is choked with sewage and waste; the air polluted by smoke and particulate matter.

Researchers and environmental organisations say the destruction will have enormous effects on Gaza’s ecosystems and biodiversity. The scale and potential long-term impact of the damage have led to calls for it to be regarded as “ecocide” and investigated as a possible war crime.



Join the BDS-BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT, SANCTIONS campaign to protest the Israeli barbaric siege of Gaza, illegal occupation of the Palestine nation’s territory, the apartheid wall, its inhuman and degrading treatment of the Palestinian people, and the more than 7,000 Palestinian men, women, elderly and children arbitrarily locked up in Israeli prisons.

DON’T BUY PRODUCTS WHOSE BARCODE STARTS WITH 729, which indicates that it is produced in Israel. DO YOUR PART! MAKE A DIFFERENCE!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Share this article:

DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

There are no comments so far.

Join the discussion!

We welcome debate and dissent, but personal — ad hominem — attacks (on authors, other users or any individual), abuse and defamatory language will not be tolerated. Nor will we tolerate attempts to deliberately disrupt discussions. We aim to maintain an inviting space to focus on intelligent interactions and debates.

+ 38 = 43

Note: we try to save your comment in your browser when there are technical problems. Still, for long comments we recommend that you copy them somewhere else as a backup before you submit them.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.