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Israeli navy assaults Palestinian fishermen in Gaza waters

The latest incident is one of many examples of the Israeli navy entering Gazan waters to attack, harass, and detain Palestinian fishermen. The effect of Israel’s control of the waters off the coastal territory has been devastating.  

An Israeli warship approaches a Palestinian skiff, as photographed from the observation boat Olivia (photo: Rosa Schiano/Civil Peace Service Gaza CPSGAZA)

According to the Civil Peace Service Gaza (CPSGAZA):

At 10:55 am on Wednesday morning, an Israeli naval warship attacked the Civil Peace Service Gaza (CPSGAZA) boat Oliva, which was carrying international observers and a Palestinian captain, in an apparent attempt to capsize it. The Palestinian captain was injured.

“The Israeli navy passed near us and the fishermen, and started to go around us, creating waves,” said Rosa Schiano, one of the international observers. “The fishermen escaped, but we couldn’t because of a problem with our engine. We couldn’t move, and they went around us very quickly. The Israelis saw that we couldn’t move, and that [our] captain was trying to fix the engine, but they didn’t stop. We told them, ‘Please stop! Please stop!’ But they didn’t.”

When the warship was two meters away from the Oliva, one of the waves it had created nearly capsized the small boat, filling it with water and causing the Palestinian captain to fall out, injuring his left leg.

“Coming so close to us was very dangerous,” international observer Daniela Riva remarked.

After more than twenty minutes, the warship retreated, and the Oliva was rescued by a small Palestinian fishing boat, which threw it a line and towed it toward the shore.

The Israeli navy attacks and harrasses Palestinan fishermen on a regular basis. On November 28, the Israeli navy entered Gaza’s waters and abducted two fishermen, confiscating their boat. On November 29, Israeli forces seized two boats in Gazan waters, opening fire, shooting one fishermen in the arm, and detaining 10 Palestinian fishermen. The men were brought to Ashdod and were interrogated before being released.

Earlier in November, Palestinian fishermen held a sit-in in front of the United Nation’s headquarters in Gaza to protest the Israeli navy’s actions. They also called for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. According to the Palestinian news agency WAFA, the fishermen held signs that read, “We have the right to practice our right to work without fear or intimidation,” “We call on the international community to stop the Israeli aggressions against the fishermen,” “Long live the steadfastness of the Palestinian fisherman” and “No to the blockade policy and the collective punishment practiced by Israel against Palestinians.”

Restrictions on the fishing zone make a serious impact on Palestinian livelihood. Though the fishing zone was initially set at 20 nautical miles in the Oslo Accords’ 1994 Gaza-Jericho Agreement, Israel has unilaterally restricted this range to between 1.5 – 2 nautical miles. The marine “buffer zone” restricts Gazan fishermen from accessing 85 percent of Gaza’s fishing waters, as agreed to by Oslo.

In 2002, the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan tapped Catherine Bertini to negotiate with Israel on key issues regarding the Occupied Palestinian Territories and a fishing limit of 12 nautical miles was set. In June 2006, following the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit near the Kerem Shalom crossing, the Israeli navy imposed a complete sea blockade. When the complete blockade was eased several months later, Palestinian fishermen found that Israel was imposing a six nautical mile limit. When Hamas gained political control of the Gaza Strip, the limit was further reduced to three nautical miles. During Operation Cast Lead, a complete naval blockade was imposed.

After Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli army instituted a one and a half-mile to two-mile nautical zone. Israeli gunboats often shoot at or ram Palestinian skiffs near the Gazan coast.

According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Gaza’s fishermen have been devastated. An estimated 65,000 people have been effected by Israel’s restrictions on fishing and the catch has been reduced by 90 percent. The coastal areas are now over-fished and two-thirds of Gaza’s fishermen have been forced to leave the industry since 2000. The General Union of Fishing Workers estimate a direct loss of one million dollars and an indirect loss of 13.25 million dollars since the second Intifada, which began in late September 2000 and saw Israel step up movement restrictions on Palestinians.

Gaza’s fishing industry has been in a steady freefall ever since.

The 2009 fishing catch amounted to a total of 1,525 metric tons, only 53 percent of the amount during 2008 (2,845 metric tons) and 41 percent of the amount in 1999 (3,650 metric tons), when the fishermen of Gaza could still fish up to ten nautical miles from the coast.

A version of this article appears on the Alternative Information Center‘s website.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Philos

      It will end in tears one day and all that I can say is that I hope those tears are shed by the family of a Western observer because nobody gives a damn when Palestinians are killed.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Saar

      I bet the navy’s interest in fishermen on Gaza shores has nothing to do with the multiple unceasing attempts to smuggle weapons and explosives.
      Its all those nasty Zionist masons..

      Reply to Comment
    3. Philos

      Saar, please bring evidence of any successful smuggling into Gaza via its seacoast. I’m sure you will find none. The Karine A was intercepted and if you’re going to site the Mamara Flotilla, that too was intercepted. The smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza is via underground tunnels from the Sinai.

      Reply to Comment
    4. RichardL

      Just for the record Mya. You state “In June 2006, following the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit near the Kerem Shalom crossing, the Israeli navy imposed a complete sea blockade.”

      In fact according to Gisha (on their site and in evidence before the Turkel Commission – which was ommitted from that committee’s report) there has been a blockade in force in one form or another throughout the entire occupation since 1967. It is true that FGM did succeed in defying the blockade on a few occasions during 2008 but this was the first time in 42 years that any international vessel had managed to sail to Gaza.

      @Philos There are also commentators that consider the KarineA to have been a hoax by Israel i.e. it was not even attempting to smuggle weapons to Gaza.

      Reply to Comment
    5. mya guarnieri

      read closely, richard: a *complete sea* blockade which means ZERO movement in the sea.

      i have written a number of articles about the longer timeline of the blockade which the media erroneously dates to 2007.

      but the media uses this date for a reason as it represents the most severe manifestation of the closure, which began around 1991.

      yes, israel has restricted movement since the occupation began in 67. see sara roy’s work for an assessment of the devastating impact these restrictions made on gaza’s economy between 67-88, the years gaza’s economy was de-developed by israeli policies.

      Reply to Comment
    6. RichardL

      Thanks for the info Mya. Sorry I misunderstood you although I think you were asking me to read a lot into those two words you wrote.
      Regarding “the media” and 2007, I think you are being overgenerous. Much of the media is uninterested in what Israel does to the Palestinians and the likes of the BBC have no interest at all in telling it like it is. Remember ‘Death in the Med’?

      Reply to Comment
    7. dickerson3870

      RE: “The latest incident is one of many examples of the Israeli navy entering Gazan waters to attack, harass, and detain Palestinian fishermen…” ~ Mya Guarnieri

      FROM ALISTAIR COOK, London Review of Books, 03/03/11: (excerpt)…It was [Ariel] Sharon who pioneered the philosophy of ‘maintained uncertainty’ that repeatedly extended and then limited the space in which Palestinians could operate by means of an unpredictable combination of changing and selectively enforced regulations, and the dissection of space by settlements, roads Palestinians were not allowed to use and continually shifting borders. All of this was intended to induce in the Palestinians a sense of permanent temporariness. Maintaining control of the Occupied Territories keeps open to Israel the option of displacing Palestinian citizens of Israel into the Territories by means of limited land swaps. It also ensures that Israel retains the ability to force future returning refugees to settle in their ‘homeland’, whereas a sovereign Palestinian state might decline to accept the refugees. It suits Israel to have a ‘state’ without borders so that it can keep negotiating about borders, and count on the resulting uncertainty to maintain acquiescence…

      P.S. I see ‘maintained uncertainty’ as being somewhat related to “learned helplessness”.

      Reply to Comment
    8. I’d like to echo SAAR’s sentiments, except without the sarcasm:
      “I bet the navy’s interest in fishermen on Gaza shores has nothing to do with the multiple unceasing attempts to smuggle weapons and explosives.
      Its all those nasty Zionist masons..”

      Reply to Comment
    9. Lightbringer

      “The General Union of Fishing Workers estimate a direct loss of one million dollars and an indirect loss of 13.25 million dollars since the second Intifada, which began in late September 2000 and saw Israel step up movement restrictions on Palestinians.

      Gaza’s fishing industry has been in a steady freefall ever since.”

      Gazans got exactly what they deserved.
      You elect a party of war – face the consequences.

      It’s really not that complicated to remove the blockade – all they have to do is accept that Israel is here to stay and they’ll have to live with that on terms imposed by the winner.
      No choice granted. It has been like that throughout the history of the human kind and there is not a one single reason why Arabs should be given a right to start numerous wars, lose them and than dictate their terms.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Berl

      Lightbringer,
      “You elect a party of war – face the consequences.”
      The party was “elected” the first time in 1948 by the families kicked out and transferred by bus from al-Jura, Najd and Majdal, the city that today you call Or HaNer, Sderot and Ashkelon (The latter was a Cananite city that included in his area also Majdal).
      History does not start from where you wish.
      Ps
      Are you by chance a relative of Ben Israel/Bosko, or Ben Israel/Bosko himself with a new nickname?

      Reply to Comment
    11. Mikesailor

      Lightbringer: Spoken like a true fascist to whom law, or justice, means nothing unless it suits your ends. Israel has elected many ‘parties of war’ and has escaped severe sanction because of political support by the US among others who allow Israeli depredations because the domestic cost of confronting Isrraeli activities has been deemed not to be worth the price. I particularly like the line:..’they’ll have to live with the terms imposed by the winner..”. And what happens if you and yours lose? Were the pogroms of Russia under the Czars something Jews just ‘had to live with’ because they “weren’t the winners”‘? Was Hitler correct because, at the time, he had the military force and domeatic political backing to do whatever he wanted? The same arguments used by you today are the same arguments used by dictators, persecutors and thieves in the past.The only thing that has changed is that, for the present, you have the power. Yet, someday, power will shift to another. And all you do is give those future leaders a shining example of the treatment you might suffer with the same ‘justifications’ you use now. Bringing darknesss unto the world.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Lightbringer

      Berl

      >Lightbringer,
      “You elect a party of war – face the consequences.”
      The party was “elected” the first time in 1948 by the families kicked out and transferred by bus from al-Jura, Najd and Majdal,

      The party of war was elected a while before that. Since 1920’s Palestinian Arabs were happily massacring Jews wherever and whenever they felt that they could do it safely.
      History does not start where you wish it either.
      P.S. Never heard of Bosko

      >Mikesailor
      Lightbringer: Spoken like a true fascist to whom law, or justice, means nothing unless it suits your ends.

      Fascist? ROFL
      It became quite a trend to use words such as “fascist” and “nazi” without actually understating their proper meaning.
      No, I’m not a fascist. A realist probably.

      Law is written by winners and for winners.
      Justice? And who is to decide what is just and what not? International court? UN?

      Jews have had a “lawful” and “just” inspiration to have own country.

      Arabs were against it from the very beginning and heavily oppressed Jews in Eretz Israel until those who survived holocaust have arrived and added some backing to otherwise meaningless words.

      >Israel has elected many ‘parties of war’ and has escaped severe sanction because of political support by the US among others who allow Israeli depredations because the domestic cost of confronting Israeli activities has been deemed not to be worth the price.

      It is your personal interpretation, not facts.

      >I particularly like the line:..’they’ll have to live with the terms imposed by the winner..”. And what happens if you and yours lose?
      Than, obviously, we’ll have to live with the terms imposed by the winner. Like it have been numerous times before in the history of nearly every nation.

      >Were the pogroms of Russia under the Czars something Jews just ‘had to live with’ because they “weren’t the winners”‘?

      Irrelevant analogy, but yes, no choice given.

      >Was Hitler correct because, at the time, he had the military force and domestic political backing to do whatever he wanted?

      Correct?
      Well, his actions directly led to creation of State of Israel – what else could make European middle-class burghers move into forsaken desert full of snakes, scorpions and Indi… err… Arabs?

      >The same arguments used by you today are the same arguments used by dictators, persecutors and thieves in the past.

      The arguments used by me today are the same arguments everybody is using on the daily basis. Ever punished a child?

      >The only thing that has changed is that, for the present, you have the power.

      Yes, Cap.

      >Yet, someday, power will shift to another.

      Sure, Cap.

      >And all you do is give those future leaders a shining example of the treatment you might suffer with the same justification you use now.

      History is full of shining examples, and ours is far from the worst.

      >Bringing darkness unto the world.

      Are you defending the rights of the Kurds with the same passion?

      Reply to Comment
    13. Berl

      Linghtbringer,
      “The arguments used by me today are the same arguments everybody is using on the daily basis. Ever punished a child?”.
      This sentence explains quite well how low you fly.
      I don’t have time to loose with a hate mongering – although the term used by Mikesailor is appropriate, but usually hate fascists have some kind of arguments: you don’t – but let me remind you that the attempt of stealing land and resources form the indigenous population started much earlier than 1920 and the palestinians were even too much patients.

      Let me quote what Theodor Herzl noted in his diaries in 1895 about the local population: “We should try to spirit the penniless Arab population across the borders by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly”.
      Herzl, Theodor, Complete Diaries, The Herzl Press, New York, 1960, p. 88.

      Let me quote also Granott, the president of the JNF. His fascist attitute and his attempts to prevent the local populationfrom having a normal existence is for sure appreciated by you:

      Granott: “The frontiers of the new state which march in so curiously winding a fashion, were determined by the success of the Jews in creating faits accomplis. All those parts to which the Jewish settler had penetrated were included within the state, whereas those where they were not strong enough, or did non have time to plant stakes, remained for the most part”.
      ..
      Once again, Palestinians were even too patient and it does not matter if a hate mongering like you agrees or not.

      Reply to Comment
    14. berl

      full passage – A. Granott: “Land was bought in those parts where there was danger of a political change in favour of the Arabs, or of their being wrenched from the body of the imminent state. Purchases were made precisely on distant frontiers to the east and the north, and Jewish boundaries in the Negev were expanded with much energy and persistence. The course of events subsequently completely justified these activities, which called for great exertion and accurate foresight. When the great day arrived, and the UN decided to establish a Jewish state, those who were responsible for defining its boundaries were impelled by realities to include the lands bought by the Jews, together with the settlements thereon. The frontiers of the new state which march in so curiously winding a fashion, were determined by the success of the Jews in creating faits accomplis. All those parts to which the Jewish settler had penetrated were included within the state, whereas those where they were not strong enough, or did non have time to plant stakes, remained for the most part”

      Reply to Comment
    15. Lightbringer

      “but let me remind you that the attempt of stealing land and resources form the indigenous population started much earlier than 1920 and the palestinians were even too much patients.”

      “Land was bought in those parts where there was danger of a political change in favour of the Arabs, or of their being wrenched from the body of the imminent state. Purchases were made precisely on distant frontiers to the east and the north, and Jewish boundaries in the Negev were expanded with much energy and persistence.”

      Stealing or purchasing?
      I hope you know what are the differences.

      Palestinians were more than happy to sell their land to anyone willing to pay gold for the bloody desert. Besides, it wouldn’t be too hard to just kill all those Jews and get the land back.
      A bit of miscalculation I’d say.

      ““We should try to spirit the penniless Arab population across the borders by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly”.”
      Some facts:
      1 – there is – and never was – no employment for Pallies in neighboring countries.
      But that’s fine, indeed.
      Arabs certainly know how to handle their fellow.
      2 – Until 2nd Intifada Pallies were working in Israel
      A huge mistake.
      You can’t negotiate of befriend a muslim.
      It is technically impossible because it contradicts Quran.
      3 – Pallies selling their lands to Jews were murdered by their own brethren.
      So no matter what was the way of land acquisition it would always seem illegal by some of locals.

      So basically Israelis had no choice – the other side always was against our presence here.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Berl

      Lightbringer,

      “You can’t negotiate of befriend a muslim.”. You are racist and there is nothing to add about it.
      ….
      You don’t have any clue about land tenure. The JNF bought 6 percent of the land that in 1947 was partioned by the UN. 6 percent.
      In all the Ottoman Empire the Mulk land (private property) was just 5 percent of the total. This because the land did belong to the community of believers. In other words they didn’t manage land tenure in a western way and no one can blame them for this.
      The 6 percent of land that was bought by the Jews is the land about which Granot was speaking about. Study better the topic and then come back to write something.

      PS “there is – and never was – no employment for Pallies in neighboring countries.” Even assuming that this was true, it justifies Herzl’s will?: “the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly”

      Reply to Comment
    17. Lightbringer

      “You can’t negotiate of befriend a muslim.”. You are racist and there is nothing to add about it.

      ROFL

      Whether am I racist or not it is still subject to be clarified, one can tell with 100% certainty that you are plain stupid and there is very little to add to it.

      1 – Islam is not a race, it is religion
      2 – Quran specifically forbid Muslims to befriend infidels or keep to the word of negotiations outcome

      Nevertheless there is some hope that someone without permanent brain damage will read this post so I’ll add some backing to my claims.

      Question:

      Are Muslims permitted to lie?

      Summary Answer:

      Muslim scholars teach that Muslims should generally be truthful to each other, unless the purpose of lying is to “smooth over differences.”

      There are two forms of lying to non-believers that are permitted under certain circumstances, taqiyya and kitman. These circumstances are typically those that advance the cause Islam – in some cases by gaining the trust of non-believers in order to draw out their vulnerability and defeat them.

      The Qur’an:

      Qur’an (16:106) – Establishes that there are circumstances that can “compel” a Muslim to tell a lie.

      Qur’an (3:28) – This verse tells Muslims not to take those outside the faith as friends, unless it is to “guard themselves.”

      Qur’an (9:3) – “…Allah and His Messenger are free from liability to the idolaters…” The dissolution of oaths with the pagans who remained at Mecca following its capture. They did nothing wrong, but were evicted anyway.

      Qur’an (40:28) – A man is introduced as a believer, but one who must “hide his faith” among those who are not believers.

      Qur’an (2:225) – “Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts” The context of this remark is marriage, which explains why Sharia allows spouses to lie to each other for the greater good.

      Qur’an (66:2) – “Allah has already ordained for you, (O men), the dissolution of your oaths”

      Qur’an (3:54) – “And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers.” The Arabic word used here for scheme (or plot) is makara, which literally means deceit. If Allah is deceitful toward unbelievers, then there is little basis for denying that Muslims are allowed to do the same. (See also 8:30 and 10:21)

      http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Quran/011-taqiyya.htm

      Reply to Comment
    18. Lightbringer

      “In all the Ottoman Empire the Mulk land (private property) was just 5 percent of the total. ”
      Ottoman Empire is no more after 1923, so locals couldn’t cope with changing world during 25 years.
      Apparently Mr. Darwin was right.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Berl

      Lightbringer,
      wow, you have so many arguments: impressive!

      I could write you hundreds of Bible quotes supporting the use of violence, genocides and the worst sentiments that can exists between humans beings: http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/2006/06/which-is-more-violent-bible-or-quran.html

      But of course I don’t judge millions of human beings on the base of what is written in a book. I am Christian but I respect Muslims and Jews without any sort of discrimination.
      ..
      In what you write you imply “an ethnicised Muslim identity” subjected to racism and discrimination. Antisemitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia are different faces of the same medal.
      You live as you think and write: so the only consolation is that I am sure that you live a poor life.

      Reply to Comment
    20. berl

      “In all the Ottoman Empire the Mulk land (private property) was just 5 percent of the total. ” Ottoman Empire is no more after 1923…”
      So what? A colonizing country inspired by the white man’s burden approach becomes the owner of the land just because the ottoman empire collapsed?
      You confirm that racism and colonialism often walk one beside the other.

      Reply to Comment
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