Friday, April 17, 2009

Ten Organizations Launch International Campaign of Solidarity with Gaza's Fishermen

Fishing Under Fire blog, April 14, 2009 - Ten civil and humanitarian institutions in cooperation with the Palestinian international campaign to break the siege said Monday that they embarked on preparing an international campaign of solidarity with the Palestinian fishermen to pressure all official parties around the world into stopping Israeli violations in Gaza waters.

In a news conference, the institutions called for taking actions at all levels to stop Israel from violating the rights of Palestinian fishermen in Gaza and for organizing campaigns all over the world to expose these infringements.

The institutions stressed the need for making laws regulating fishing operations and securing fish resources and the marine environment in Gaza.

They also pointed to the importance of updating fishing boats and ports in Gaza, calling for the establishment of specialized workshops to repair and maintain fishing equipment and finding a mechanism to support the fishermen financially.

In another context, the ministry of agriculture said Tuesday in a press release that the story of the fishing boat explosion near the Gaza coast is an Israeli fabrication to redouble and justify attacks on Palestinian fishermen.

The ministry added that Palestinian eyewitness reported that the boat was not booby-trapped, but it was targeted by an Israeli gunboat leading to its explosion.

It noted that the Israeli military navy stepped up recently its attacks on Gaza fishermen at sea, where they kidnapped many of them and threatened to target their fishing boats if they did not cooperate and work as agents for Israel.

The ministry pointed out that the Israeli occupation also aims, through such trumped-up story, to shrink the fishing zone which became only two miles after it had reduced it to three miles after the war.

It hailed the civil and humanitarian institutions for organizing an international campaign to support the Gaza fishermen against the Israeli violations, expressing its willingness to provide them with all information that can be utilized in this solidarity campaign.

Related stories:

Gaza boat explodes near Israeli navy vessel (April 13, 2009)

Israel abducts Gaza fishermen; ISM takes their testimonies (April 13, 2009)

Palestinian Agriculture Ministry: Boat was not booby trapped (April 14, 2009)

Al Jazeera English Television profiled the industry in a February report:

Watch ISM's video of a recent demonstration on behalf of Gaza's fishermen:

For background on Gaza's fishing industry, see:

Gaza Strips Fishing Industry of Potential (March 2009)

Gaza's Fishing Industry Reeling (March 2009)

Israel Imposes Further Restrictions on Gaza Fishing Industry, Ordering It to Keep Close to Shore
(March 2009)

Geopolitical Time Line: War, Natural Gas, and Gaza's Marine Zone (January 2009)

Too Quiet in the Harbor: Gaza Siege Largely Destroys Commercial Fishing Industry (May 2008)

Gaza's Fishing Industry Under Siege (March 2007)

OCHA Special Report on Gaza's Fishing Industry (April 2007) (available at: ) (Note: Report includes a useful map of the progressive shrinkage of the allowed fishing area off the Gaza coast)

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