In Gaza, fishermen are under constant attack for trying to make a living

CPSG accompanying Gazan fishermen on 28 September 2011.

Today, the Oliva, a monitoring boat manned by the Civil Peace Service Gaza project, accompanied three hasaka boats (the size of small rowboats) and one trawler as they attempted to fish. The Israeli naval boats relentlessly pursued the Oliva, until the crew decided to retreat back to shore only three hours after they launched. The Oliva’s previous engine was destroyed by the Israeli navy in July and replacing the engine again is not an option given financial limitations.

The permissible fishing area has been reduced from twenty nautical miles under the 1994 Jericho-Gaza addendum of Oslo to twelve under the 2005 Bertini commitments, enforced at six nm and since Operation Cast Lead, the fishing limit is three nautical miles. (This doesn’t include the times in which Israel violently prevented boats from sailing at all after the government takeover by Hamas and during Cast Lead itself.)

But Israel doesn’t just blockade the Strip by air, land and sea. Deliberate and violent actions are taken to prevent Palestinians from farming in the arable ‘buffer zone’ and fishing in Gazan territorial waters, even within the imposed three nautical mile limit. International activists are therefore inclined to look for ways to raise awareness of these issues and use their presence as a deterrent to the violence. This has backfired in the past, not just for the volunteers but for Gazans as well.

In November 2008, Israel arrested and later deported three International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activists (including Vittorio Arrigoni) for accompanying fishermen. The navy also arrested the fifteen Palestinian fishermen aboard and confiscated their only source of livelihood, their three boats. After significant legal and media efforts, the Palestinians and their boats were released (albeit damaged by the captors). Only one month later, Israel bombed the port during Cast Lead and destroyed the boats ISM had spent days working to retrieve.

The ISM ceased to accompany the fishermen following the November incident worried that their presence would have a negative effect and the fishermen continued to be harassed, arrested and fired upon. The launch of CPSG in April was the embodiment of a renewed belief in the idea that challenging the Israeli siege from inside Gaza is not impossible and that international attention can mitigate Israeli violence. Several human rights organizations have thrown their money and efforts into this hope; that the Oliva will document the Israeli violations of international law and Palestinian rights and that the world will care.

Only time will tell if this project is successful, but the Oliva will continue to sail, document Israeli aggression and provide support and solidarity for Gazan fishermen.

Sasha Gelzin is the media coordinator for Civil Peace Service Gaza and resides in Washington D.C. 

About Sasha Gelzin

Sasha Gelzin is a student organiser and member of the Students for Justice in Palestine - National steering committee.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 0 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. seafoid says:

    Gaza fishermen have no rights in Erez Israel.

    It is up to the Jewish Diaspora to change this situation.

    • Citizen says:

      Jewish Diaspora is moving rather slowly; gives new meaning to the old adage “Teach a man to fish, not to get a handout of fish.” Israeli version: “Don’t teach a goy to fish, and don’t give a goy a handout of fish.” Palestinians are only the most immediate targets of this fresh Israeli version of positive thinking and doing.

  2. The cruel vindictiveness of Israel is beyond comprehension. How does Israel profit from preventing people feeding themselves? In no way at all, other than in taking pleasure in denying Palestinians the most basic human rights. I hope they are proud of their most immoral army in the world. Sadistic little bullies.

  3. Bumblebye says:

    The unwarranted interference in the Palestinian economy, as well as the theft of resources, the whole occupation overall, deprives the Palestinians of about 85% of their nominal GDP, approx £4.4bn per year according to a new report:
    link to guardian.co.uk

  4. James says:

    this is what ‘terrorist state’ countries do… israel is a terrorist state..

    • Citizen says:

      Well, yeah, James, but it’s only terrorist in nature when it comes to goys. There’s a difference between universal ethics/morality and what Israel & its complicit diaspora applaud and implement. Kant, after all, was not Jewish.

      • James says:

        yea… one law for jews and another one for everyone else…. where are we seeing this lived out at present, aside from the halls of the us congress? lol….

  5. kursato says:

    It is not only the Gaza fishermen’s who are under attack nowadays….

    After Turkeys rupture with israel..

    Americian zionists/neocons have started (attack) their campaign to demonize Turkey (a NATO ally and OECD member) in the eyes of the western world (notably Canada, USA and Australia).

    The problem is that Turkey has an open society with many links to ”western world” and a democratic government. Besides that, more than 30 million tourists visit Turkey every year. There are more western tourists in some cities/villages of Turkey than there are natives of that particular of village. So it isn’t so easy to demonize Turkey as with Iran.

    Just 3 of the many articles about Turkey:

    - Daniel Pipes: Is Turkey going rogue?
    Turkey may be, along with Iran, the most dangerous state of the region.
    link to fullcomment.nationalpost.com

    - Michael Rubin: Why Is Obama Giving Predators to Turkey?
    Over the last year, Turkey has sided with Iran……… and made anti-American rhetoric a staple of the Turkish ruling party’s proxy press etc.
    link to blog.american.com

    - Jonathan Tobin: Turkey Responsible for Iraq Insurgency?
    His primary assertions are that Prime Minister Netanyahu can do no wrong and that Turkey set on a path to downgrade its relations with Israel far earlier than the Gaza flotilla dispute. That Turkey was somehow responsible for Iraq’s insurgency bu not letting Bush junior invade Iraq from the north.

    link to commentarymagazine.com
    link to theatlantic.com

    ********************************************
    These articles aren’t posted on only one news website but many more.
    If one copies the titles and pastes on Google will see the article of Mr. pipes in the Australian (Australia), the National review (Canada) and in the Washington Times (USA) and many more.
    ——
    In 2003, Pipes was awarded an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University (Israel). In May 2006, Pipes received the Guardian of Zion Award by Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

    Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He has lectured in history at Yale University, Hebrew University

    Tobin was editor in chief of the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia. His columns have regularly appeared in the Jerusalem Post and many other newspapers.

    • James says:

      pipes was mentioned by the norwegian murderer brevik as an ”inspiration”… it can’t get much more sickening then that, but alas morons will continue to read pipes…

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      • James says:

        i see now pipes comment is in one of the 2 canadian national newspapers….the national post is a horrible paper that should be avoided at all costs unless you want to get a particular type of brainwashing..

        • James says:

          link to en.wikipedia.org

          The (National) Post today
          Since Izzy Asper’s acquisition of the National Post, the paper has become a strong voice in support of the state of Israel and its government. The Post was one of the few Canadian papers to offer unreserved support to Israel during its conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon during 2006.[3]

          One of its columnists referred to Hezbollah as “cockroaches.” Canadian pundits argue whether the Post’s support of Israel is a legacy of its late founder’s political ideology or a shrewd business manoeuvre.[4]

  6. I see several possible reasons for this policy:

    * pathological hate of Arabs and Goyim in general
    * part of systematic psychological oppression policy
    * block info on the robbery of Palestinian gas fields
    * create Omega-3 and Iodine deficiency
    * prevent possibly military marine capability
    * prevent smuggling capability
    * pure sadism

    I guess it’s some combination.

    • Sasha Gelzin says:

      There is a marked difference between border patrol and incursions. This cannot apply to every situation besides the sea of Gaza. Israeli naval boats do not just hang out at the 3 nm, patrolling, but make regular ventures inside, shooting with water cannons and live ammunition.

      The Dahiya Doctrine was followed during Cast Lead, with Israeli generals proudly proclaiming they intended to use disproportionate force on Gaza. The Dahiya Doctine can reasonably be identified as a key policy of the Israeli military echelons. What limits this collective punishment to times when there is no “war” ?

      “We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases,” he said. “This isn’t a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorized.” See Ha’aretz ( link to haaretz.com )

    • Don’t forget some of our other devious plots:

      Sex gum to Palestinians to turn them into raving perverts
      link to ynetnews.com

      Israeli trained sharks released in Egyptian waters
      link to jpost.com

      • Glad you find Israeli sadism and cruelty so hilarious

      • LongLiveGreed, I think you are following the advice in the last page of the Hasbara Hound Training Guide:

        “Still outwitted? mock the other side intelligence and integrity. It always works with civilized people. They have no defense for such an attack but use it sparingly because they are no fools (they only seem so) and may avoid you in the future”.

        • Eh, Disillusioned, my response was actually directed at you since you quoted this beauty

          create Omega-3 and Iodine deficiency

          One thing I see, you quickly picked up that nonsense that anyone who doesn’t agree with you is a Hasbara worker.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          You are starving Gaza the way the Nazis starved Warsaw, and you will get what’s coming to you.

  7. Chaos4700 says:

    Funny how jon and DBG aren’t wishing anyone a happy new year on this thread too, huh.

    • DBG says:

      Shana Tovah Chaos.

      • eee says:

        Yes, Chaos, may you see Israel go from strength to strength this year.

        Why would anyone believe such a one sided story which is clearly an attempt to raise money? Of course it is possible that the Israeli coast guard did something wrong, but there is no way I am going to give any credibility to this story and the organization behind it. First and foremost because in order to do what they are doing in Gaza, they have to be in bed with Hamas. What do you expect from such an organization?