Saturday, September 5, 2009

PFLP plans international campaign to support Gaza fishermen against Israeli attacks

PFLP plans international campaign to support Gaza fishermen against occupation attacks




The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine pledged to intensify and build upon its work with Gaza fishermen to raise awareness about their suffering due to the aggression of the occupation, and work to build Palestinian, Arab and international support for the fishermen of Gaza.

Dr. Rabah Muhanna, a member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP and its leader in the Gaza Strip, led a PFLP solidarity delegation that met with the El-Tawfiq Cooperative Society of Fishermen on Wednesday, September 2, 2009, saying that "the Front expresses its full solidarity with the fishermen, who are constantly exposed to aggression from occupation naval forces while trying to secure their livelihood and provide a needed resource in Gaza by fishing from their own shores in Gaza, and pay the price of the siege, and also suffer the consequences of Palestinian internal division."

Dr. Muhanna said further that the Front pledges to stand by the fishermen and will follow up on this meeting with work to support their steadfastness and provide relief, and that the struggle of the fishermen is a national and political issue for the Palestinian people. He said to the fisherman, "Continue to fight your battle, confronting the occupation, the division and the siege - your steadfastness strengthens all of our people." A number of PFLP leaders, as well as leaders of civil society institutions and trade union and labor activists participated in the delegation.

Mahmoud Assi, chairman of the fishermen's association, detailed the struggles of the fishermen, describing the constant attacks and infringements upon the fishermen by occupation forces. He listed those killed and wounded while trying to obtain their livelihood on Gaza's shores, emphasizing that this terror against fishermen has raised the level of unemployment in the sector. He pointed out that fishermen are subject to great injustice, noting that Gaza is surrounded from all sides by siege and occupation and the sea is the only outlet - and is also besieged and subject to occupation. He noted that the fishermen's association has a debt of over 1 million shekels, as it provides for fishermen's needs and relies on dues payments which often cannot be made because of the high levels of poverty and unemployment.

He noted that the occupation prohibits fishermen fishing further than 3 miles from the shore, noting that the occupation has continually reduced this distance from 20 miles in 1993 to 2-3 miles today, before the fishermen face hostile live fire.

One of the labor leaders present at the meeting pledged support of the workers' organizations, noting that fishing has become one of the most dangerous occupations due to the attacks of the occupation forces.

The PFLP pledged to develop campaigns on Palestinian, Arab and international levels in support of the fishermen, and to develop international labor and maritime union solidarity campaigns with the fishermen of Gaza, as well as to emphasize the need for international solidarity to highlight the plight of the fishermen of Gaza.