Monday, September 28, 2009

Palestinian fishers in Gaza Strip demonstrating for right to earn living without daily harassment

 posted on PNN

26.09.09 - 21:14
Gaza / Maher Ibrahim – Fishers in the Gaza Strip are asking the international community for protection against daily Israeli aggression both at sea and on the shore.
The fishing industry has been effectively destroyed, Rami Abdo said today, by the Israeli war on the Strip and the continuation of aggression and harassment. Fishing boats and nets are often confiscated and destroyed, fishers are arrested.
Abdo, a spokesperson for the Popular Committee against the Siege said that the direct loss in revenue for each day of closure of the sea is up to 70,000 USD. Other losses are estimated at 30,000 USD per day.
Some 3,500 Palestinians fish in the Gaza Strip with about 700 boats. Engineer Salah Al Jihad from the Department of Fisheries in Gaza’s Ministry of Agriculture, said that 70,000 people live off the sea, and hundreds of those who fish with small boats are not registered with the Ministry. These are concentrated in the northern Gaza Strip where Israeli forces have killed three since the end of the major attacks in January and wounded 22 others. The Ministry has recorded 166 files of complaints of partial and total damage to boats.
The reign for boats along the Gaza beach which runs about 40 kilometers is down from more than 20 nautical miles to only five kilometers, and in some areas that number shrinks to three.
The Ministry of Palestinian Agriculture said today that if a fisher exceeds the boundary, he is subject to being shot, his boat destroyed and his fishing nets cut. Prison, interrogation and heavy fines are also possibilities.
Recently the Palestinian fishing industry was paralyzed to the point that demonstrations became routine in front of offices of international agencies and representatives. Demands include that the United Nations, European Union and the international community at large intervene to lift the naval blockade, and to demand a ceasing of fire and an end to the repeated violations of the right to fish.

Human rights monitoring organizations report that Israeli violations and aggressions against fishers are contrary to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966.

Head of the Union of Fishermen in the Gaza Strip, Nizar Ayash, said, “The Israeli targeting of fishermen is part of the ring of closure. The marine problem includes fishermen being detained and violently beaten, both in the sea or near the beach in Gaza, Khan Younis, Rafah, and the central and northern Gaza Strip.”