Israhell, monsters of land, sea and air.
“Since 1996, following the signing of the Oslo accords by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel restricted Gaza fishers to 20 nautical miles off the coast. That was eventually reduced to 12 miles, then six and now to just three.”
Ismail Abu Riyala was hit by a bullet to the head
Being a fisher in Gaza is one of the world’s most dangerous occupations.
Since 1996, following the signing of the Oslo accords by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel restricted Gaza fishers to 20 nautical miles off the coast. That was eventually reduced to 12 miles, then six and now to just three.
Israel has periodically banned Palestinians from going to sea entirely, according to Al Mezan.
Israeli forces routinely fire on fishing boats, damaging the vessels and injuring and sometimes killing crew members. Fishers are frequently arrested.
Since the year 2000, Al Mezan has documented nearly 1,300 Israeli violations against Palestinian fishers in Gaza.
These include some 1,200 incidents of shooting at fishing boats, causing the death of eight fishers and the injury of 134.
Israel has arrested more than 650 fishers and seized more than 200 boats and destroyed vessels and equipment, such as nets and lights, in more than 100 cases, according to Al Mezan.
Palestinian fishers in Gaza have also come under fire by the Egyptian navy. Abdullah Zeidan, 32, was killed by Egyptian forces while fishing along Gaza’s southern border in January.
Fishers, whose trade has long been part of Gaza’s culture and economy, have become one of the poorest groups in the territory, requiring sustained humanitarian aid, according to Al Mezan.
Of the 3,800 fishers registered with the Palestinian Fishermen’s Syndicate, only around half of them still practice the profession.
Yet more than 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza “still depend on this industry for their livelihoods,” according to the United Nations humanitarian monitoring group OCHA.
Fish caught off of Gaza’s coastal waters is a major source nutrition for Palestinians in the territory, though one that fewer and fewer can afford. After more than a decade of Israeli blockade, half of Gaza’s population of two million is moderately to severely food insecure.