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Environmental Warfare in Gaza

Environmental Warfare in Gaza

Colonial Violence and New Landscapes of Resistance

by Shourideh C. Molavi

Israel is destroying both lives and livelihoods as it decimates the fertile lands of Palestine

The perimeter around the occupied Gaza Strip is formed by a sophisticated system of fences, forts and surveillance technologies. With each Israeli incursion, a military no-go area, or a 'buffer zone', is established along Gaza's 'borders', extending deep into Palestinian residential areas and farmlands— further compounding the Gaza Strip's isolation from the rest of Palestine.

Since 2014, the bulldozing of Palestinian lands by the Israeli occupation forces has been complemented by unannounced aerial spraying of military herbicides, extending the reach of Israeli violence into the realm of chemical warfare. Today, the spraying has destroyed entire swaths of arable land in Gaza, forcibly changing a once-lush Palestinian landscape, and providing the Israeli army with better visibility to fire at Palestinian targets with lethal force from a distance.

This book is a vivid document of this latest stage of Israeli warfare, including original maps, images and visualisations which deepen our understanding of its environmental and human impact. It collects new documents, original archival materials, stills of drone footage, first-hand testimonies of farmers, organisers and protesters, and documents affected vegetation in Gaza as 'silent witnesses' to Israeli settler-colonial violence.

Shourideh C. Molavi is a writer and scholar in political science and urban studies. She is the dedicated Palestine-Israel researcher at Forensic Architecture, an independent research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London, and teaches in the Department of Urban Studies at the University of Basel in Switzerland. She is the author of Stateless Citizenship: The Palestinian-Arab Citizens of Israel.

'Few people who do not live there know Gaza as well as Shourideh Molavi does ... Almost entirely written before the catastrophic events of late 2023, this book anticipates them, exposing the brutal history of crimes against trees, plants and the people who live with them along the 300-mile border zone between Gaza and Israel, as nothing less than 75 years of colonization.'

- Laura Kurgan, Professor, Columbia University

'A timely and very essential addition for the understanding of the multi-layered story of Gaza, and that of Palestine. Beyond the familiar warfare in Gaza, the book presents a unique tale of Israeli violence to reengineer the Palestinian environment. The Israeli disruption of the harmonized native environment does not go without Palestinian resistance, and the book reminds the readers of the new vocabularies and imaginaries of liberation and justice.'

- Ahmad Amara, lawyer and researcher of law, Al-Quds University

'As we witness the State of Israel’s horrific and criminal assault against the civilian population of Gaza and its habitation infrastructures, Shourideh C. Molavi remind us that this is not an exceptional event, but the last episode in Israel’s decades-long apartheid colonial occupation and military siege of Palestinian lands. Spatial analysis of Israel’s settler-colonial policies has focused on the built environment, Molavi’s thought-provoking book extends this framework to show how settler-colonialism encompass an entire ecology that operates through the natural environment – land, crops, trees, forests, water, air. Against this oppressive, militarized environmentalism, Molavi also shows how Palestinian liberation struggles created an “eco-imaginary” of landscapes saturated with memories and prospects of freedom. One may not fully agree with the politics, but we cannot blind eyes to Molavi’s forensic mapping of the political-ecological landscape of systemic rights violations and dispossession to which Palestinians are subjected on a daily basis by the Israeli occupation. In a moment of increasing censorship of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian voices, and the biased view of Western media and politicians legitimizing the crimes of the State of Israel, the publication of Molavi’s evidence-based, grounded, extensive research comes timely, providing a much necessary historic context to understand the unfolding events in light of the long history of the State of Israel’s settler-colonialism and Palestinian liberation struggles through the lens of environmental history. '

- Paulo Tavares, architect, author, and educator

Introduction—Colonial Legacies of Farm Warfare


Chapter One—Reconfiguration of Biopolitical Landscapes in Palestine


Chapter Two—The Disappearing Trees of Gaza 


Chapter Three—The Al-Shawwa Citrus Export Company


Chapter Four—Israeli Herbicidal Warfare as Colonial Practice


Conclusion—Sowing New Landscapes of Resistance

Published by Pluto Press in Feb 2024
Paperback ISBN: 9780745344577
eBook ISBN: 9780745344591

153mm x 234mm