Surviving Israel’s war on Gaza fishers

From time to time, the Palestine Center distributes articles it believes will enhance understanding of the Palestinian political reality. The following article was published by Mohammed Asad and Hind Khoudary in the Electronic Intifada on May 4, 2018

Israel has turned Gaza’s sea into a battlefield.Israel’s military routinely fires on boats, injuring, killing and arresting Palestinian crew members.“In the past, the sea used to be open. We would fish whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted,” Rashad al-Hissi, a 74-year-old Gaza fisher, told The Electronic Intifada.According to the 1993 Oslo accords, Gaza’s fishing zone was supposed to extend 20 nautical miles out from shore. But Israel never allowed local fishers that range.The furthest Gaza’s fishers have been able to work since then has been 12 miles out, and that was more than a decade ago. Since Hamas won elections and took control of Gaza’s internal affairs in 2007, the limits were reduced to six miles, then three before being raised again to six, the limit fishers face today.Israel’s attacks on Gaza fishers are as arbitrary as these restrictions, sometimes firing at vessels even when they abide by Israel’s permitted nautical zone.Israel’s regular attacks rendered fishing in Gaza a dangerous and unreliable occupation. Since the year 2000, Israel has killed eight fishers and injured 134, according to human rights group Al Mezan.Despite the hardships, Gaza’s fishers have their hearts in the sea, with more than 35,000 Palestinians dependant on this industry for their livelihoods.Here are some of their stories.


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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Jerusalem Fund.

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