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Israel reduces Gaza's permitted fishing zone, attacks fishermen

May 16, 2019 12:18 P.M. (Updated: May 17, 2019 11:09 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities have decided to drastically reduce the permitted fishing zone off Gaza’s coast "until further notice," on Thursday.

Head of the Palestinian Fishermen Union in Gaza, Zakariya Bakr, told Ma'an that Israeli authorities reduced the permitted fishing zone from 12 nautical miles to only five.

Bakr said that the Israeli naval forces prevented Palestinian fishermen from retrieving their fishing nets seven nautical miles off Gaza’s coast.

Bakr also pointed out that the Israeli navy opened heavy fire at fishermen who attempted to pass the five nautical miles, forcing them to sail back to shore in fear for their lives.

Israeli practices undermined the fishermen’s ability to make a living at sea.

It is noteworthy that only six days ago, Israeli authorities allowed the expansion of the permitted fishing zone to 12 nautical miles.

Palestinian fishermen, who try to make a living off the shores of the blockaded coastal enclave face daily risks, including routine harassment from Israeli naval forces, confiscation of boats and materials, detention and live fire.

According to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in 1994, a permitted fishing range of 20 nautical miles was agreed on between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). In practice, Israel only allowed fishing up to 12 nautical miles until 2006, when the fishing zone was reduced to six and later to three.

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