Monday, July 18, 2011

the shrinking fishing grounds of Gaza

Here is an excerpt from an account of the unilateral reduction in the area within which Gaza fishermen can catch fish. The fishing restrictions are completely at the whim of Israel.
During the Oslo Accords, specifically under the Gaza-Jericho Agreement of 1994, representatives of Palestine agreed to 20 nautical miles for fishing access. In 2002 the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan empowered Catherine Bertini to negotiate with Israel on key issues regarding the humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and a 12 nautical mile fishing limit was agreed upon. In June 2006, following the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit near the crossing of Kerem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom), the navy imposed a complete sea blockade for several months. When the complete blockade was finally lifted, Palestinian fishermen found that a 6 nautical mile limit was being enforced. When Hamas gained political control of the Gaza Strip, the limit was reduced to 3 nautical miles. During the massive assault on the Strip in 2008-2009, a complete blockade was again declared. After Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli army began imposing a 1.5 - 2 nautical miles (PCHR: 2010).
The fishing community is often similarly targeted as the farmers in the 'buffer zone' and the fishing limit is enforced with comparable aggression, with boats shot at or rammed as near as 2nm to the Gazan coast by Israeli gunboats.

Remember that this is only one aspect of Palestinian life that is subject to Israel's dictates. The Palestinians in the West Bank have no law but that of the Israeli Defense Forces and live in all respects subject to their occupiers. Those who live in Gaza are under siege and subject to military attack at any time with no defense against it - even as the United States pours more weapons and money into Israel for "the right to defend itself"

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