GAZA, April 2, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli navy early Saturday opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip, setting fire to a boat and causing it to sink.
WAFA correspondent reported Israeli navy deployed across the coast of Rafah shelled a fishing boat, setting it on fire and causing it to sink. No injuries were reported among the fishermen, who apparently fled the sea for fear of being detained, injured, or killed.
This came as Israeli forces stationed at borderline watchtowers opened fire at farmers as they attempted to access their farmlands to the east of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, causing them to flee fearing for their lives.
Israeli army opens fire routinely at Palestinian fishermen, shepherds and farmlands along the Gaza border, clearly violating a ceasefire deal reached between Israel and the Palestinian factions in Gaza.
Israel has imposed a tightened blockade since 2007 after Hamas won the democratic legislative elections and took over power in the strip.
The Gaza tightened blockade has been widely criticized by UN organizations, Israeli, and Palestinian human rights organizations.
In its weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian Territories, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said forces conducted a ed incursion in central Gaza Strip and continued to use excessive force against Palestinian civilians participating in peaceful protests in the West Bank and Gaza.
It said that the illegal closure, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007, has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.
“The Israeli authorities impose measures to undermine the freedom of trade, including the basic needs for the Gaza Strip population and the agricultural and industrial products to be exported. For 9 consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world,” said PCHR.
“This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 1.8 million people,” it added.
“The Israeli authorities have established Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shaloum) as the sole crossing for imports and exports in order to exercise its control over the Gaza Strip’s economy. They also aim at imposing a complete ban on the Gaza Strip’s exports. The Israeli closure raised the rate of poverty to 38.8%, 21.1% of which suffer from extreme poverty. Moreover, the rate of unemployment increased up to 44%, which reflects the unprecedented economic deterioration in the Gaza Strip,” it added.