Israel is ‘targeting’ Gaza’s fishermen amid famine

Israel has effectively shut down commercial fishing and aggressively pursues Gazan fishing boats [Getty]

Israel is deliberately attacking Gaza’s fishermen, devastating Gaza’s fishing industry and preventing many Palestinians from being able to provide for their families, according to a report on Saturday.

The New Arab’s sister outlet Al-Araby Al-Jadeed details the plight of Gaza’s fishermen as they and their families attempt to survive Israel’s war on the coastal enclave since October last year.

Thousands of Palestinian fishermen have lost their jobs on fishing boats due to Israel widening the parameters of the illegal siege it has imposed on Gaza since 2007.

Since 7 October, Israel has declared much of Gaza’s coastal areas to be “dangerous combat zones”, stopping fishermen from operating in them.

However, even in areas of Gaza’s coast deemed by Israel to be “safe humanitarian zones”, fishermen have been targeted by the Israeli warships, which fire shells at fishing boats without any prior warning.

Several Gaza fisherman have been killed since 7 October, though official figures are not yet known.

“The Israeli aggression on Gaza started while we were at sea, and they opened fire on fishermen from all directions, causing the death of several of them,” Palestinian fisherman Aed Abu Ryala told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Israel’s total siege on the Palestinian territory has also made boat engine parts and crucial fishing equipment impossible to find. The prohibition of fiberglass, essential for the maintenance of boats, has effectively shut down the industry.

“Fishing in Gaza has always been a dangerous profession even before the war due to Israeli aggression, including direct shooting, arrests of fishermen, and confiscation of their boats and tearing of their nets,” Mohamed Ridwan, a fisherman in Gaza told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

“The prohibition of raw materials and spare parts necessary for repairs was common, but the new aggression and restrictions has been the straw that broke the camel’s back for our profession and our sole source of income,” he added.

Ridwan and his entire family have been forced out of the Shati or Beach refugee camp along Gaza’s northern Mediterranean coastline and into the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, which is bombed by Israel daily.

The shutdown of Gaza’s fishing industry, which comprised around 4,500 workers before the war began, has added to the severe lack of food in the enclave, which has turned into outright famine in the north.

With Israel blocking humanitarian aid, Gaza’s fishermen could provide one small lifeline for the over 1 million Palestinians who, in the estimation of the World Food Programme, face starvation and death by mid-July.

But Israel’s aggression towards fishermen has cut off that lifeline at a time when Gaza’s markets would usually be full of seasonal seafood like sardines.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *