Since 2007 Israeli forces killed five Palestinian fishermen, injured 107 others, arrested 547 others and confiscated 181 fishing boats
by Giovanni Vigna
(Per la versione italiana dell’articolo clicca qui)
Mantua, 1 March 2017, Nena News – In the Strip fishing has been brought to its knees. For local fishermen it’s a never-ending daily stream of gunshots, seized boats and damaged engines. So an important sector of Gaza economy has plunged into a serious crisis. Recently Israeli navy has arrested two Palestinians who were sailing off the coast of small besieged enclave. Crafts and fishing gear have been impounded. Still unknown the place where the soldiers caught the two men.
According to specialized news website “The Palestinian Information Center” (http://bit.ly/2mEQ3MG), last February Israeli Occupation Forces (Iof) arrested nearly 405 Palestinians, 11 of them from the Gaza Strip, including five fishermen.
Israeli navy usually opens fire against fishermen sailing near the coast, preventing them from reaching deeper water rich in fish, with dramatic consequences for this branch of the economy that gives thousands of people the means to support their families.
The military forces often seize the boats. A damaged engine can cause considerable difficulties for many families. Fishing has been strangled. About four thousand fishermen in Gaza suffer for the siege that has lasted for a decade. Soldiers open fire against their boats and compel them to undress at gunpoint and swim from their boat to a navy craft, regardless of weather conditions.
Since 2007, Israeli forces killed five Palestinian fishermen, injured 107 others, arrested 547 others and confiscated 181 fishing boats. This data has been provided by The Palestinian Information Center that, in February, published a report (http://bit.ly/2n9lWt1) of Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, promoting respect and protection for human rights in the Palestinian Territories.
According to Al-Mezan Center, “since October 2000 Israel has tightened restrictions on Palestinian access to the sea. Fishermen were prevented to access the fishing areas allocated under the Oslo Accords 20 nautical miles from the coast. The fishing area was limited to 12 nautical miles, and then to only six nautical miles. However, fishermen are currently allowed to access only three nautical miles”.
According to the official version, the Tel Aviv government wants to prevent arms trafficking and possible incursions in Israeli territorial waters. Actually, the targets of navy are the fishermen who are “warned” and sometimes hit by bursts of gunfire.
The Freedom Flotilla Coalition has declared that “in the past 30 days there have been over 20 attacks on Gaza fishers which largely go unreported in the mainstream media. Fishing is a major source of food and income for the Palestinian people of Gaza and yet it is being seriously eroded”. The Freedom Flotilla Coalition has launched a project to concretely help the Gazan people. The activists are going to foster events at fishing harbours around the world to educate the public about the Israeli Government’s brutal and inhumane treatment of fishers in Gaza.
Furthermore there will be opportunities for fishers to donate a financial proportion of their catches to Palestinian colleagues in Gaza through an established Non-Governmental Organization. Flags and banners will wave in solidarity with Gazan fishermen. Thus the Freedom Flotilla Coalition has organized a contest to create a logo that will be painted on the hull of a boat or a banner/flag. It is possible to send the drawing, before 15th April, to the email firstname.lastname@example.org.