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PCHR Condemns Israeli Authorities’ Decision to Decrease Fishing Area at Gaza Sea

Ref: 11/2020 

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Israeli authorities’ issued decision on Saturday, 15 February 2020, to decrease the fishing area off the Gaza Strip shores.  PCHR believes that these Israeli measures are part of the Israeli collective punishment policy practiced against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip that aims at harass fishermen and prevent them from sailing and fishing freely in areas where fish breed.

Nizar Abu ‘Ayyash, Head of the General Union of Fishing Workers in the Gaza Strip, told PCHR’s fieldworker that Israeli authorities’ decision to decrease the fishing area into 10 nautical miles starting from Gaza City to Rafah, and to 6 nautical miles in Gaza City and northern Gaza Strip.  He added that this would have disastrous implications on the living conditions of at least 4000 fishermen and 1500 others working in related-professions in the Gaza Strip who would not be able reach the fish-breeding areas due to the Israeli restrictions on their movement and Israeli naval forces’ ongoing attacks against fishermen.

It should be noted that Israeli authorities decided, under the restrictions applied on the Gaza population, to cancel planned facilitations that were to be applied in Gaza, including cancelling 500 exit permits for businesspersons from the Gaza Strip and banning cement imports into the Strip for the private sector.

PCHR emphasizes that the Israeli decision to decrease the fishing area violates the economic and social rights of Palestinian fishermen and violates their right to work stipulated in Article (6) of the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.  The ongoing Israeli attacks against fishermen also constitutes a flagrant violation of the intentional humanitarian law.  Therefore, PCHR:

  • Calls upon the Israeli authorities to reverse the decision to decrease the fishing area immediately and to enable fishermen to fish and sail freely, especially that they do not pose threat to the Israeli naval forces;
  • Calls for an immediate end to the constant chasing of fishermen and allow them to fish and sail freely; and
  • Calls upon the international community to pressure the Israeli authorities into ending the naval blockade, which led to the deterioration of fishermen and their families’ living conditions, and stopping all violations against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip.

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