Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Israel kidnaps fourteen fishermen

From the Free Gaza website:

For Immediate Release

For Immediate Release:

Gaza City, 10 a.m.- Fourteen Palestinian fishermen and 3 international
Human Rights Observers (HRO’s) were surrounded by the Israeli Navy and
taken from their boats 7 miles off the coast of Deir al Balah, Gaza

The fishermen and the HRO’s were transferred from 3 separate boats to
the Israeli warships. Other Palestinian fishermen reported that the 3
boats were seen being taken north by the Israeli Navy.

The Human Rights Observers are Andrew Muncie, a Scottish British
citizen, Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian citizen, and Darlene Wallach,
an American citizen. They have been volunteering with the
International Solidarity Movement (ISM) since they entered Gaza on
ships with the first Free Gaza Movement voyage on the 23rd August
2008. All internationals have previous experience working with the ISM
in the West Bank.

Fellow activists have been unable to establish contact with the HRO’s
or with the fishermen since they were abducted.

Since their arrival, the ISM volunteers have been regularly
accompanying Palestinian fishermen who are regularly attacked by
Israeli navy vessels from as little as 3km from shore. They have
regularly filmed Israeli forces using live ammunition, shells and
water cannons against unarmed fishermen.

For videos from these attacks please contact palreports@gmail.com or
the ISM Media Office - 02-2971824

For more information please contact:
Fida (Gaza - Arabic) – 0599681669
Jenny (Gaza - English) - 059 876 5377
ISM Media Office - 02-297-1824 or ISM contacts in the Gaza Strip

When confronted by the Israeli Navy, the boats were 7 nautical miles
from the shore of Deir al Balah, well within the fishing limit
detailed in the Oslo Accords of 1994.

With regular claims that from the Israeli government that it has
‘disengaged’ from Gaza, these patrols and attacks from the Israeli
navy, regularly occuring from as little as 3 miles from shore,
represent a clear signal of the continuation of occupation of Gazan
territory as well as regular breaches of the current cease-fire.

Over 40,000 people in Gaza make a living from the fishing industry,
yet this community has been decimated by Israeli restrictions on
fishing rights and the prevention of fuel from reaching the Gaza

According to the Fishing Syndicate in Gaza, fishermen need 40,000
litres of fuel and 40,000 litres of natural gas each day to operate
throughout the high fishing season.

Starting in April each year, there is a migration of fish from the
Nile Delta to Turkish waters which Palestinian fishermen have
traditionally relied upon. Yet Israel limits fishing 6 miles from the
Gaza shore and regularly attacks those who venture further than 3
miles - over 70 fishermen were arrested last year by the Israeli
forces. The large schools that form the migration are usually found 10
miles from shore. The average catch of fish was over 3000 tons a year
in the 1990’s, now it is around 500 tons directly due to the Israeli
siege of Gaza.

Not only this, but the brutal effects of the siege, the water in which
the fishermen of Gaza sail in is now receiving 50 million litres of
sewage per day because the people of Gaza have no alternative.

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