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Israel expands Gaza fishing zone following latest escalation of violence

15 November 2018 18:48

 

The Israeli navy has expanded the Palestinian fishing zone off the northern portion of the Gaza Strip as the latest spate of the Tel Aviv regime’s military aggression against the besieged coastal enclave saw 14 people killed and several others injured in 48 hours.

The development came following the latest escalation of violence by the Tel Aviv regime against the coastal enclave in which Israeli airstrikes and shells reduced Palestinian buildings to rubble and sent fireballs and plumes of smoke into the sky.

Nizar Ayyash, secretary of the Gaza fishermen’s syndicate, said in a statement on Thursday that Israeli forces allowed Palestinian fishermen to carry out their fishing work within six nautical miles in northern Gaza and nine nautical miles in southern Gaza.

On Wednesday, Israeli naval forces killed a fisherman after opening fire on a Palestinian fishing boat northwest of the coast of Beit Lahia city, located about five kilometers north of Gaza City.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said the fishermen, identified as 23-year-old Nawaf Ahmed al-Attar, was taken to hospital in a critical condition, and succumbed to the grave gunshot wounds he had suffered in his abdomen shortly afterwards.

According to Palestinian estimates, roughly 50,000 Gazans earn their living from fishing.

Palestinian relatives carry the body of fisherman Mustafa Abu Awda during his funeral in Gaza City on November 8, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

 

The fishing zone is supposed to extend to 20 nautical miles under the Oslo Accords. The Oslo Accords were signed between the Israeli regime and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) during the early-mid 1990s to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Over the past few years, Israeli forces have carried out more than a hundred attacks on Palestinian boats, arresting dozens of fishermen and confiscating several boats.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

Hamas and other Gaza-based resistance groups announced a ceasefire with Israel in a joint statement on Tuesday evening, saying they would abide by the ceasefire as long as Israel did the same.

“Egypt’s efforts have been able to achieve a ceasefire between the resistance and the Zionist enemy,” the statement read.

It added, “The resistance will respect this declaration as long as the Zionist enemy respects it.”

Tensions have been running high near the fence separating the Gaza Strip from the occupied territories ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the coastal enclave on March 30. More than 230 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. Nearly 23,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.

The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

On June 13, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip.

The resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with eight votes against and 45 abstentions.

The resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”

It also called for “immediate steps towards ending the closure and the restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip.”

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