Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jubilation and a symbolic act of resistance to the siege: the Gaza boat race

30 July 2010 | ISM Gaza
“I call to the whole world to treat us like everybody else, to break the blockade of the sea and of the whole Gaza Strip, so that people will be able to make a living from the sea again”, states the happy winner of the first Gaza boat race, Jamal Baker.
On the 26th July 2010, the race took place near the port of Gaza city, with ten boats participating. The boats sped through three laps, always staying near the coastline from where a cheering crowd followed the action.

It was a symbolic sign of resistance against the siege, which has been imposed on Gaza since 2007. The livelihood of the fishermen especially has been deeply affected by the siege, since they are only allowed to fish within three mile range of the shore. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights this means that they are unable to catch enough fish to earn the income they need to nourish their families. It has also left the narrow area along the coastline heavily over-fished.
But the life of Gazan fishermen has not only become unbearably hard, but also very dangerous. Israeli gunboats shoot at fishermen on a regular basis while they are trying to do their daily work on the sea.
Beyond that, the naval blockade is affecting the quality of the life of all people in Gaza, who are already suffer immensely under the situation. Yet still, “people here love the life”, Mustafa Alkabarity, the organizer of the event, told us. “They want to go sailing, fishing, or surfing. But the problem here in Gaza is that we can’t import any equipment – even surfboards are a security problem for the Israeli side.” And it’s not only surfboards that apparently jeopardize Israel’s state security. Sewage pumps are also prevented from entering Gaza; this has led to serious pollution of the sea.
Nonetheless, the people of Gaza haven’t given up on their dreams, as they demonstrated by conducting this boat race against all the odds. Baker had spent five days training on the sea, and since his victory, his ambition to take the race on to bigger things is clear: “I hope that we are able to compete with other countries, and that also European countries would join the race. We have the ability for that”, he affirms.
The winner of the boat race, Jamal Baker, is lifted aloft by friends and supporters
The winner of the boat race, Jamal Baker, is lifted aloft by friends and supporters
The jubilation of the crowd as Baker and his first mate were hoisted on the shoulders of some ecstatic supporters exemplified the enthusiasm for maritime culture that exists here in Gaza. The know-how and talent of the sailors was self-evident, but in their case having the ability is not enough.
What the people of Gaza essentially need is the basic right of free access to their national waters, so that the next race can be even more than a symbolic act of defiance.
Updated on July 30, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Video: Gaza's only fisherwoman

July 21, 2010

In Gaza, traditional industries like fishing are dominated by men but one 16-year-old girl is changing that. She has taken charge of her father's fishing boat and the family's livelihood after he suffered an injury to his leg. Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

PCHR weekly report 7/7 - 14/7/2010: 2 fishermen abducted, including 1 child

extracts from PCHR weekly report 7/7 - 14/7/2010

Thursday, 08 July 2010

At approximately 06:30, Israeli gunboats stationed off the coast of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at a number of Palestinian fishing boats. Soon afterwards two gunboats besieged a small fishing boat; on board were 'Ammar As'ad al-Sultan, 17, and Tamer Mohammed Zayed, 27. Israeli troops ordered the two fishermen to sail towards a moorage known as "al-Rafsouda," nearly 1,500 meters to the northwest. When the two fishermen arrived at the moorage, Israeli troops ordered them to tie the boat to it, take their clothes off and jump into the water, which they did. The two fishermen were then taken into custody by the Israeli forces and transported to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where they were detained and interrogated. The two fishermen were released at approximately 17:00 at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing. 

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

At approximately 19:10, Israeli gunboats stationed off the coast of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. The Palestinian fishermen were forced to sail back to the beach and no casualties were reported. 


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Israeli Gunboats Open Fire on Palestinian Fishing Boats west of Beit Lahyia

At app. 7:10pm on Tuesday 13 July 2010, Israeli naval vessels that patrol the sea opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats in Beit Lahyia in North Gaza District. No casualties or injuries were reported, but the fishermen were terrified and left the area without finishing their fishing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

IOF Arrests Two Palestinian Fishermen in Beit Hanoun


At app. 6:30am on Thursday 8 July 2010, Israeli naval vessels that patrol the sea opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats  north Al-Waha resort, west of Beit Lahyia town in the North-Gaza district. The IOF military boats moved towards two of the fishing boats and rounded one of  them. The IOF arrested two fishermen who were on the boat. Al Mezan identified their names as follows:
·         'Ammar As'ad Mohammed As-Sultan, 17, and
·         Tamer Mohammed Ahmed Zayis, 26.
The IOF took them and their boat to unknown area.  The IOF chased the second boat, but it fled.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

PCHR weekly report 1/7 - 6/7/2010: 1 boy fisherman injured by israeli navy fire

extracts from PCHR weekly report 1/7 - 6/7/2010

Israeli forces continued to fire at Palestinian farmers and workers in border areas of the Gaza Strip and fishermen at sea. 
- Two children were injured, one of them at sea and the other while collecting raw construction materials. 

 Monday, 05 July 2010

At approximately 10:30, Israeli gunboats positioned at sea near the Gaza port, west of Gaza city, fired at Palestinian fishing boats that were sailing approximately two miles off Gaza shore. 'Allam Naser Fadel Bakr, 14, from al-Shati refugee camp, was wounded as a result by two bullets in the abdomen. The boat, which belongs to Mahmoud Abu Hweidi, was struck by two bullets to its hull. On board was Mr. Bakr, his father Naser, 49, and his brother Yaser, 18.

Mr. Bakr and his father were transported by another boat to the shore. Mr. Bakr was then transported to al-Shifa Hospital for medical treatment, where his wounds were described as moderate.

Yaser Bakr, 'Allam's brother, told the PCHR fieldworker that he boarded a fishing boat with his father and his brother 'Allam at approximately 06:00. They sailed from the Gaza port and were anchored approximately two miles off the shore. They threw the net into the water at approximately 06:30. At approximately 10:30, they were surprised by firing coming from an Israeli gunboat which was approximately a half of a mile to the north. They sustained fire from the Israeli ship for approximately ten minutes. 'Allam was wounded by two bullets in the abdomen as a result and the boat was struck by two bullets in its hull Another Palestinian fishing boat transported 'Allam and his father to shore while Yaser remained on the boat. The motor of the boat was broken and Yaser remained on the boat until another Palestinian fishing boat came and pulled it to the shore.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Gaza fisherman reported injured by Israeli fire

Gaza – Ma'an – Israel's navy opened fire toward the coast of the Gaza Strip on Monday morning injuring a fisherman, a medical official said.

Alam Ghanem Baker, in his 20s, was treated for a bullet wound sustained while fishing off the northern coast near Gaza City, Gaza Health Ministry director of emergency and ambulance services Muawiya Hassanein said.

Witnesses said the navy also opened fire along the southern coast, where a shell landed on a beach west of Rafah. There were no reports of injury or damage in that incident.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the army was not familiar with either incident.

Gaza's once-thriving fishing industry has withered away as naval forces restrict fishing boats to three nautical miles from the coast, a Red Cross report released in June said. With the total catch down 47 percent between 2008 and 2009, much of the fish entering Gaza now arrives from Israel and via tunnels, the report said.

Israeli armed boats shell fishing boats in Rafah, 1 injured 

 Gaza, July 5, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) - Israeli armed boats shelled today at Palestinian fishing boats in Rafah waters, local sources reported..

Witnesses said that Israeli armed boats shelled Palestinian fishing boats by ten shells on Rafah, south of Gaza Strip, no injuries were reported.
In Gaza water, Israeli armed boats opened fire at Gazan fishermen which injured Alam Baker while he was finishing.
The Director of Emergency Services at Al-Shefa Hospital, Dr. Muawiya Hassanein, said that the injured fisherman was transferred to Al-Shefa Hospital in Gaza city to receive medication.
Israeli gunboats stationed in the waters of Gaza target Palestinian fishing boats on a daily basis, claiming that they sail beyond the allowed distance of three miles.


Al Mezan


Israeli Gun Boats Open Fire on the Gaza Beach; One Person Injured

At app. 10:40am on Monday 5 July 2010, Israeli naval vessel that patrol the sea opened fire on the Gaza beach near the  harbor. As a result, 'Allam Nasar Bakir, 15, who was playing near the beach, was shot in the abdomen by two bullets. According to medical sources at Shifa Hospital, his injuries are described as moderate.