Israeli navy detains Palestinian fishermen off Gaza

Israeli navy detains Palestinian fishermen off Gaza
Group of seven fishermen allegedly strayed beyond the six nautical mile limit Israel imposed as part of its continuing blockade.
2 min read
22 October, 2014
Fishermen in Gaza [Al-Araby al-Jadeed/Abdulhakim Abu Rish]

A group of seven Palestinian fishermen were arrested by the Israeli navy off the coast of northern Gaza on Wednesday. The detention of the seven, all members of the Bakr family of Sudaniya, was confirmed by Nizar Ayash, head of the Gaza fishermen's syndicate.

The fishing boat strayed beyond the six nautical mile fishing limit imposed as part of Israel's naval blockade, claimed the Israeli military. A spokeswoman said warning shots were ignored, before sailors fired rubber-coated bullets - wounding one of the fishermen "very lightly". All seven were subsequently taken for questioning, and two boats were confiscated. 


Since signing the truce, the Israelis violated [the deal] eight times, arresting fishermen and shooting on a daily basis.
- Nizar Ayash, fishermen's union

A three nautical mile fishing limit was imposed when Israel started its blockade on Gaza in the summer of 2006, but the 2012 ceasefire deal doubled the limit. This was reconfirmed under the terms of the August 26 truce, which ended a destructive 50-day war between Israel and armed groups in Gaza. 

However, Ayash said Israel had frequently violated the terms of the agreement. 

"Since signing the truce, the Israeli army has violated [the deal] eight times, arresting fishermen and destroying a large fishing boat, in addition to firing at fishermen on a daily basis," he said.

According to the fishermen's union, there are around 4,000 fishermen in Gaza, who support more than 50,000 dependents. Gaza's fishermen have sustained losses worth millions over the course of recent violence. Israeli forces have confiscated at least 35 Palestinian fishing boats - which tend to cost around $15,000 each - since 2008. 

The Israeli government claims the Gaza coast has become a major route for smuggling weapons into the blockaded strip after tunnels between Egypt and the town of Rafah were destroyed.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic website.