Gaza fishermen call for international protection from Israeli practices

Fisherman in Gaza subjected to armed attacks by the Israeli navy ask for security and an end to the maritime siege
Saleh Naami , Thursday 26 May 2011 | Al Ahram Online

Gaza fishermen have asked the international community to intervene to lift the maritime siege imposed upon them by the Israeli government, reduce restrictions on their operations, and provide them with international protection.

Tens of fishermen organized a sit-in in the port of Gaza and chanted for an end to piracy and shooting by the Israeli navy.

Fisherman Mohammed Bakr, speaking on behalf of other fishermen, said the international community needs to force Israel to open up more maritime territory. He added that what is hurting them is the ongoing sea blockade that prohibits them from travelling more than three miles from shore, and being chased by occupation forces.

He said that fishermen suffer financially, and due to the severe violations they are subjected to by Israeli occupation forces they no longer feel safe going out to work.

Gabr added that the situation at sea is so bad that it is impossible to imagine what is taking place there. The moment they pass the three-mile perimeter, says Gabr, the Israelis open fire.

He asked that international security be provided while they are fishing and that Arab countries support the fishermen against Israel’s violations.

The Israeli navy imposes a naval security ring around Palestinian fishermen. Its naval boats attack Palestinian fishing boats that pass the limit on a daily basis, wounding tens of fishermen and damaging their vessels.

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