Israeli Navy Targets Palestinian Fishing Boats in Gaza

GAZA, January 20, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli gunboats Tuesday opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats offshore al-Sodaniyeh area, northwest of the city of Gaza, in a continued breach of a truce agreement reached on August 29, 2014, according to one of the fishermen.

A fisherman notified WAFA correspondent that Israeli gunboats opened fire at the fishermen boats despite sailing within the six-nautical-mile zone allowed for fishing, forcing them to leave the sea for fear of being killed or injured.

Meanwhile, Israeli gunboats fired on Monday night four missiles targeting fishermen in the same area, causing damage to the boats. Light injuries were reported.

The Israeli navy targets fishermen and their boats almost on daily basis, in a clear breach of the Egyptian brokered truce agreement reached on August 29, 2014, following the 51-day bloody aggression on the Gaza strip which claimed the lives of more than 2,200 Palestinians, including children and women, in addition to almost 10,000 injuries.

OXFAM reported on the fishing industry and fishermen saying, “With most of the fish at least nine miles out at sea, they have already been struggling to make a living and now 90 percent of them need international aid.”

During the Egypt-brokered ceasefire indirect talks, Israel agreed to extend the fishing zone to six nautical miles, a term that was stipulated under the 2012 ceasefire agreement, but was rescinded by Israel just a few months later.

The current six-nautical-mile fishing zone falls drastically short of the twenty nautical miles allocated to Palestinian fishermen under 1993 Oslo Accords.

These restrictions prevent access to large farming and fishing areas and their enforcement places civilians at serious physical risk. Methods of enforcement include the use of live ammunition, detention and harassment of fishermen, leveling of farm land, destruction of private and public property, and confiscation of fishing boats.