Gaza fishermen, Between Struggle and Livelihood

By: Ali Farkhan Tsani, Al-Quds Ambassador, Senior Editor of MINA News

Whenever military tensions escalate, Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip will feel the impact immediately.

Immediately a strict blockade is implemented again, making access to fish in the sea even more difficult.

Israeli authorities prohibit Gazans from fishing, and blame Palestinian fighters for attacking Jewish settlements.

According to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, the fishermen had been allowed to operate within 15 nautical miles of the coast.

But then, citing one-sided reasons for rising tensions, Israel cut the number to just 8 nautical miles. Until then closed the fishing zone completely.

Also Read:  Israeli Occupation Navy Attack, Detain Palestinian Fishermen Offshore Northern Gaza

Nizar Ayyash, chairman of the Palestinian Fishermen’s Association in Gaza, told Xinhua that Israeli naval forces continued to chase Palestinian fishermen from a distance of 8 miles (12.8 km).

“We are being held hostage to the political situation in the coastal enclave,” said Hussain Abu Ryala, a local fisherman, as he pulled the net from the boat.

The action of the Israeli occupation government has certainly hit the local fishermen hard, because fishing is their only source of livelihood.

Mohammed Baker, another fisherman from Gaza, said he was worried about the situation, especially if military tensions continued for longer.

As sole breadwinner for his family, the 42-year-old said his children “would suffer hunger if no one reached out to help.”

Also Read:  Israeli Naval Forces Detain Palestinian Fishermen in Gaza Shore

The father of six expressed his hope of seeing an end to military tensions as soon as possible in order to “restore their normal lives without worry.”

Meanwhile, if you cross to neighboring Egypt, you will face Egyptian troops. Like the incident on September 26, 2020, when Egyptian Navy troops shot dead two Palestinian fishermen from Gaza and injured one another for allegedly crossing into Egyptian territorial waters. According to Middle East Eye reports.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh expressed his deep condolences for the deaths of the fishermen, who were referred to as “breadwinners martyrs.”

The incident was criticized by Gaza social media users who compared it to how Palestinians rescued six Egyptian fishermen last year after a storm dragged their boats into Palestinian territorial waters.

Also Read:  Israeli Navy Injures, Detains Fisherman off Gaza

Thus, a large number of residents in the Gaza Strip depend on fishing as their main source of income. However, they continue to face various difficulties that befall them. It is necessary to fight for their fate, their right to life, their right to earn their livelihood, just like humans in general. (AT/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)