Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gaza activists announce rights monitoring boat

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Activists in Gaza announced Sunday the upcoming launch of a rights monitoring boat for the Gaza shore, to be christened "Oliva," following the wish of slain Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni, a statement said.

With the maiden voyage of the 8-meter skiff set for Wednesday, the group of activists said nationals from Spain, the United States, Italy and Belgium, will soon accompany Gazan fishermen within Palestinian waters, documenting violations of international law.

"The mission will carry on in his spirit," the group said of the project, in reference to Arrigoni, an Italian activist who was abducted and found hanged on Friday, apparently by a splinter group of Salafists in the Gaza Strip.

Activists will document instances of fire from Israeli warships paroling Gaza's Mediterranean shore, and enforcing a 3-mile fishing limit. Fishermen have in the past been injured by the fire, had boats confiscated and faced periods of detention for allegedly deviating from the unilaterally-imposed limit.

Organizers said there was tremendous local support for the initiative, including from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committees, the Union of Agriculture Committees and Fishing and Marine Sports Association.