Thursday, April 24, 2014

Israeli tanks enter Gaza border area, navy fires at fishermen

Published yesterday (updated) 24/04/2014 19:17


(MaanImages/file)
 
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Six Israeli military tanks on Thursday entered a border area in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses said.

The tanks crossed into Gaza in an area called al-Qarara, north of Khan Younis, and leveled agricultural fields before leaving.

Three helicopters were seen hovering at a low altitude during the incursion.

Meanwhile, Israel's navy opened fire at fishermen off the coast of northern Gaza, locals said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said a "Palestinian vessel deviated from the designated fishing zone. Naval forces called at them to stop and fired warning shots in the air. Once it failed to comply, naval forces approached the vessel and the fishermen were taken for questioning."

Local activists named the fishermen as Hamdi Sultan and Muhammad Zayid.

In the Oslo Accords, Israel agreed to a 20-nautical-mile fishing zone off Gaza's coast but it imposed a 3-mile limit for several years, opening fire at fishermen who strayed further.

Israel has controlled Gaza waters since its occupation of the area in 1967, and has kept several warships stationed off the coast since 2008.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Israeli miltary vehicles 'enter Gaza,' warships fire at fishermen

Published Tuesday 08/04/2014 (updated) 09/04/2014 11:51
 
(MaanImages)
 
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Several Israeli military vehicles entered the southern Gaza Strip early Tuesday, witnesses told Ma'an.

Locals said six military vehicles entered Gaza east of al-Qarara. No shooting was reported.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was not familiar with the incident.

Separately, Israeli warships opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of northern Gaza City, causing damages to one fishing boat.

A fisherman told Ma'an an Israeli naval squadron fired at Palestinian boats near the al-Sudaniyya neighborhood. No injuries were reported.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said she knew of "several instances where boats deviated from their designated fishing zones" overnight off the coast of Gaza.

The spokeswoman said the Israeli navy fired warning shots into the air or in the vicinity of the Palestinian boats, but not directly at the boats or the fishermen.

In the Oslo Accords, Israel agreed to a 20-nautical-mile fishing zone off Gaza's coast but it has imposed a three-mile limit for several years, opening fire at fishermen who stray further.

Israel has controlled Gaza's waters since its occupation of the area in 1967, and has stationed warships off the coast since 2008.

There are some 4,000 fishermen in Gaza. According to a 2011 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross, 90 percent are poor, a 40 percent increase from 2008 resulting from Israeli limits on the fishing industry.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Madleen Kolab, Gaza’s only fisherwoman

9th February 2014 | International Solidarity Movement, Charlie Andreasson | Gaza, Occupied Palestine


(Photo by Charlie Andreasson)
(Photo by Charlie Andreasson)

I have seen her standing there more then once, at the edge of the port, looking out over the boats in the harbor and then towards the horizon. And for a short second, I have seen myself, when as a child I took my bicycle down to the harbor just to stand at the pier and gaze, for a long, long time,  at the boats that disappeared beyond the horizon, and wonder what was beyond that line. And I have briefly asked myself if she does the same. But she is not a child, she is a young, adult woman. A strong woman.
I asked a good friend to arrange a meeting with Madleen Kolab, 19 years old and Gaza’s only fisherwoman, for an interview. Later, she would reveal this was only to tell me face to face tell me that she does not give interviews. For almost two years,  she has declined all requests from journalists because they, as she says, only writes for their careers. But she decided to make an exception when she recognized me and knew that I was involved in the rebuilding of Gaza’s Ark, and thus in work for Palestine. Her firm look told me that she was serious and I felt honored, but also a little embarrassed, and was grateful that I could lower my eyes towards my notepad.
When she was six years old, she already accompanied her father when he was fishing, and she knew early what her coming profession would be. She loves her work. It gives her a sense of freedom to be on the sea, and she was careful to point out that nobody forced her to become a fisherman. Her rapt answers to my questions, that she never needed any consideration, unwavering eyes and lack of hesitation left no doubt or room for me to think otherwise. I could not doubt her word when she said that the other fishermen respect her as an equal colleague. It was only after I stressed that women all over the world find it difficult to break into an extremely male-dominated industry like fishing that she confessed she too has been fighting for her rights, and has been treated with prejudice, but that has now changed.
Madleen is the eldest of four siblings. She fishes with the younger of her two brothers on a hasaka, a small open boat, with an outboard motor. Earlier she had a type of boat she needed to paddle. Now she has the opportunity to go to deeper water and get somewhat better catches. Besides, it is safer. But she has been attacked by Israeli patrol boats, and she says it has been common for bullets to whiz around the boat. Once she feared she would be arrested, but when the Israeli soldiers discovered there was a woman on board the boat, they ordered her to instead head back to the harbor, obviously unsure of how they would deal with the unfamiliar situation. Madleen knows that will not save her forever, and she avoids the edge of the group of boats that go out, preferring to fight over the catch with others than try to get a bigger share for herself in more open water. But she also knows that when the Israeli military has decided to take a particular boat, it will also be the one they separate from the others.
(Photo by Joe Catron)
(Photo by Joe Catron)

I asked her about the escalation of violence. In January, thirteen attacks on fishermen were carried out, one at the six nautical-mile limit and the others three or less than three nautical miles from the coast. She knows from experience that if it is allowed to go out six miles, the Israeli navy keeps them within five miles, and when they were officially allowed to go only three miles, it was in reality only two. But Madleen believes they now attack so close to land because it is a high season and Israel wants to make it difficult for Palestinian fishermen to support themselves. This view is consistent with those of fishermen I have talked to after they were temporarily arrested and had their boats and gear confiscated. And the Israeli military know they can continue their abuses, since the world is not protesting.
But what would she do if there was no blockade? Would she leave Gaza? Madleen did not hesitate. She would stay. Palestine is her home. But she would fish further out, away from the overfished and shallow waters. And she wish that global society could make Israel stop the illegal and inhumane blockade. Fishermen themselves cannot. And as Madleen rightly points out, they have the right to fish in their own water. Right now, everything is like a dark dream, she continues; the future seems bleak. Still she hopes that one day they will be free from the blockade. And to hope is the only thing they can do.
Her phone rang. Someone wondered where she was. Madleen had never meant to be away for any length of time, and she asked me if I had any more questions. I took a few photographs of her and thanked her for her time. Before she left, she offered her help to launch Gaza’s Ark back into water. But I think I will see her again, standing there at the edge of the port. And it strikes me that I never asked that question, what she thinks about when she gazes towards the horizon.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Egyptian naval ship fires at Gaza fishermen

Published Saturday 22/02/2014 (updated) 27/02/2014 18:07
 

Palestinian fishermen work Jan. 24, 2009 near the border with
Egypt (AFP/File, Said Khatib)
 
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- An Egyptian naval ship opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat off the coast of the southern Gaza Strip early Saturday, a Palestinian union official said.

Nizar Ayyash, spokesman for the union of Gaza fishermen, told Ma'an that the Egyptian navy fired warning shots at a fishing boat off the coast of Rafah.

The fishing boat was nearing Egyptian territorial waters, Ayyash said.

The Egyptian ship was stationed just within Palestinian territorial waters at the time, he added.

Ayyash said that the Gaza fishing boat sailed away after the warning shots were fired. No injuries were reported.

In August, Egyptian forces fired at Gaza fishermen, injuring two men and arresting six others.

Egypt-Gaza relations have deteriorated since the military ouster of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in July.

Palestinian fishermen are severely impacted by the Gaza Strip's political isolation. Israel imposes strict limitations on Gaza fishermen, regularly firing at boats that stray into what Israel's army calls "unauthorized fishing zones."

In the Oslo Accords, Israel agreed to a 20-nautical-mile fishing zone off Gaza's coast, but it has imposed a three-mile limit for several years.

Israel has controlled Gaza waters since its occupation of the area in 1967, and has kept several warships stationed off the coast since 2008.

There are 4,000 fishermen in Gaza. According to a 2011 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross, 90 percent are poor, an increase of 40 percent from 2008 and a result of Israeli limits on the fishing industry.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Israeli naval boats open fire at Gaza fishermen

Published Thursday 20/02/2014 (updated) 21/02/2014 13:42
 
(MaanImages/file)
 
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval boats on Thursday opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Rafah in southern Gaza, witnesses said.

Fishermen in the boats jumped into the water following the incident, locals told Ma'an.

Gaza health official Ashraf al-Qidra confirmed that the fishermen survived the incident, without providing further details.

Israeli warships also opened fire at a military site formerly used by the Palestinian Authority's national security forces near Rafah.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said "Israeli naval forces identified two vessels suspected in smuggling making their way from the Gaza Strip to Egypt. Upon the return of the suspected vessels to the proximity of the strip the soldiers opened fire at them in order to thwart the attempt."

She added that "shore-based Palestinian terrorists" opened fire at the navy soldiers, causing damage to the vessel.

In the Oslo Accords, Israel agreed to a 20-nautical-mile fishing zone off Gaza's coast but it imposed a 3-mile limit for several years, opening fire at fishermen who strayed further.

Israel has controlled Gaza waters since its occupation of the area in 1967, and has kept several warships stationed off the coast since 2008.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Israeli navy detains 3 Gaza fishermen



Published today (updated) 11/02/2014 11:38
(MaanImages/File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained three fishermen off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip early Tuesday, witnesses said.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli warships stopped two fishing boats and arrested three fishermen at gunpoint. The boats and fishermen were taken to an unknown location.

One of the fishermen was identified as Fadil Sultan.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said two Palestinian boats entered a "prohibited fishing zone" early Tuesday.

After ordering the boats to stop and firing warning shots in their vicinity, the Israeli Navy took the fishermen in for questioning, the spokeswoman said.

Palestinian fishermen are only allowed to venture three nautical miles from Gaza's shore, though official Israeli-Palestinian agreements previously settled on 20 nautical miles.

Israeli naval forces frequently harass Palestinian fishermen who near the three-mile limit, as well as those inside the zone.

There are some 4,000 fishermen in Gaza. According to a 2011 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross, 90 percent are poor, a 40 percent increase from 2008 resulting from Israeli limits on the fishing industry.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Israeli military vehicles cross Gaza border, navy fires at fishermen



Published Tuesday 14/01/2014 (updated) 19/01/2014 10:51
(MaanImages/File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli military vehicles crossed into the northern Gaza Strip for surveillance activities on Monday, witnesses told Ma'an.

The limited incursion took place in a border region near Beit Lahiya, the witnesses said.

Separately, Israeli warships opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast near al-Sudaniyya west of Beit Lahiya.

No injuries were reported, but the fishermen fled and were unable to continue fishing.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.

Palestinian fishermen are only allowed to go 3 nautical miles from Gaza's shore, even though Israeli-Palestinian agreements previously settled on 20 nautical miles.

Israeli naval forces frequently harass Palestinian fishermen who near the 3-mile limit, as well as those inside the zone.

There are 4,000 fishermen in Gaza. According to a 2011 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross, 90 percent are poor, an increase of 40 percent from 2008 and a result of Israeli limits on the fishing industry.

The Israeli blockade has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans.