Israeli occupation’s navy has executed more than 200 aggressive acts against Palestinian fishermen and their equipment off the shores of the Gaza Strip, according to a Palestinian report released on Sunday, August 27, 2023.
Zakaria Bakr, the coordinator of the Union of Fishermen’s Committees in Gaza, reported on Sunday that the average monthly rate of assaults targeting Palestinian fishermen during recent months ranges between 30 to 40 attacks.
These assaults manifest through various actions, including pursuits, chases, and the direct arrest of fishermen while they are out at sea.
The Israeli forces have gone as far as confiscating their boats and fishing gear, subjecting them to direct aggression by using live ammunition or water cannons.
In some instances, they have even imposed sea closures, effectively preventing the fishermen from conducting their operations.
Within this timeframe, the Israeli navy detained a total of 27 fishermen, who were subsequently released. The breakdown of these arrests is as follows: 4 in January, 2 in both February and April, another 2 in May, 5 in June, 4 in July, and a further 6 up until August 27.
More than 100 incidents of gunfire have been reported targeting fishing boats since the beginning of the year. These assaults have resulted in injuries to numerous fishermen. Additionally, the sea was closed off to fishermen during the recent aggression on Gaza in May, exacerbating the daily challenges fishermen face.
Bakr emphasized that Israeli attacks have been on the rise since 2006, averaging around 350 yearly assaults against fishermen. The average annual arrests stand at 50 cases, while the average annual injuries during this period amount to 25.
Israeli authorities intermittently adjust the permitted fishing area off the shores of Gaza, varying between the maximum allowance of 15 nautical miles and the minimum of 6 miles. However, human rights organizations assert that these adjustments ultimately lead to fishermen operating within “zero-mile” zones due to repeated aggression.
With approximately 4,500 fishermen in the region, their demands for international protection, an end to the maritime blockade, allowance of fishing equipment and boat engines, and a halt to manipulation of the designated fishing areas remain essential to ensure their livelihoods and safety.