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Will Israelis ever hear about attacks on Gaza's fishermen?

These incidents — in which the Israeli army infiltrates the Gaza Strip, shoots at fishermen, confiscates their boats and fires at farmers near the border zone — they are part of daily life in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Young men stand beside an old ship in the Gaza port, Gaza Beach, 20.11.2013 (Basel Yazouri /Activestills.org)

Young men stand beside an old ship in the Gaza port, Gaza Beach, 20.11.2013 (Basel Yazouri /Activestills.org)

Hamas militants did not infiltrate the border between Israel and Gaza on Thursday morning. However, four Israeli military bulldozers did cross the border near Rafah in southern Gaza Thursday, Ma’an reported. On Wednesday, Israeli forces entered the northern Strip to neutralize a bomb, according to Ynet. The IDF Spokesperson did not provide a specific reason to for Thursday’s operation, aside from a claim of “suspicious activity.” The incident did not appear in the Hebrew media.

Neither Israeli military nor civilian boats were attacked near Gaza. Nevertheless, the Israeli Navy attacked a Gaza fisherman’s boat, causing it damage. The IDF Spokesperson did not comment on the event to either Ma’an or +972 Magazine. Like the previous incident, the attack was not mentioned in the Hebrew media.

Just two weeks ago, soldiers killed Tawfik Abu-Riala, a 34-year-old fisherman from Gaza. At first, the army reported that Abu-Riala left the six-mile maritime zone in which Israel allows Palestinians to fish. It later turned out, however, that Abu-Riala was well within the zone. Despite the unnecessary death, head of the Navy, Vice Admiral Ram Rothberg, decided that the firing was justified, and that no one would be put on trial for it. According to the al-Mizan Center for Human Rights, two fishermen have been killed by Israeli soldiers since the end of Operation Protective Edge, while at least 49 have been arrested, 17 wounded and 12 boats have been confiscated.

These incidents — in which the Israeli army infiltrates the Gaza Strip, shoots at fishermen, confiscates their boats and fires at farmers near the border zone — they are part of daily life in the besieged Gaza Strip. They are the everyday aspects of living in a giant prison controlled by Israel. But we barely hear about them.

It is obvious that if things were the other way around, and navy boats were being fired upon, or if Palestinians had crossed he border into Israel, the incidents would have been top news item on every news outlet. Not only that, it would have lead to a major public discussion on Palestinian aggression, the lack of a peace partner, whether the 2005 disengagement was smart move, the lessons of Protective Edge, etc.

The reports from Gaza that do reach us from time to time deal mostly with the digging of tunnels, rocket fire, and roadside bombs. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we hear about Palestinians who are trying to flee Gaza for Europe, or are trying to reach the border fence in order to sit in Israeli prison — since being in Israeli prison is sometimes preferable to a life of poverty in the prison called Gaza.

But we cannot understand the firing, the smuggling, the tunnels or the attempts to escape from the Strip without understanding the day-to-day life under siege, under Israeli control that requires a permit from Israel in order to build a home in Gaza, that restricts Palestinians to imports and exports through Israel alone (Gaza is forbidden from building its own port), that binds Gaza to Israeli electrical power (it is difficult to count the number of times the Gaza power plant has been bombed), and which compels every single person who wants to have a life outside the Strip — whether it is for the purpose of learning, or simply getting married and living in Turkey — to obtain a permit. Without all these, it will be very difficult to understand the coming war.

This article was first published on +972’s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

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    1. Pedro X

      The article claims that Israel attacks against Gazan fishing boats or Gazans near the barrier between Gaza and Israel are not published in the Israeli media. Yet I have heard of them from the Israeli media. I also know that Hamas smuggles arms and materials for its missile manufacture in fishing boats. I also know that armed individuals have infiltrated from Gaza since the end of the last Gaza war. Hamas continues to lay bombs in the region next to the barrier and terrorists carry out shooting attacks from time to time. Hamas continues to rehabilitate its tunnels and prepares for war against Israel.

      Israel has offered Gaza full peace, the rehabilitation of Gaza, a sea port and freedom in return for Gaza becoming a demilitarized area much like the Sinai was demilitarized in the peace agreement with Egypt. Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Gazans prefer war to peace with Israel and therefore have not taken up the Israeli offer.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Adrian Masters

      Why don’t Israeli fishermen stand up for the rights of their Palestinian colleagues?
      Why are the members of the Palestinian Authority not louder in their condemnation of the attacks on the Palestinian fishermen?
      Why are there no protests among the international community of fishermen, in Europe, the US, Africa, against the atrocities by the state of Israel against the fishermen who try to earn a living, and who are not transporting weapons for Hamas?

      Just asking!

      Reply to Comment
      • Weiss

        “Will Israelis ever hear about attacks on Gaza’s fishermen?”

        The title of the article answers that question Schlomo….

        Reply to Comment
      • Tony Riley

        Because Israeli fisherman don’t smuggle weapons for Hamas.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Weiss

      Warsaw Ghetto version 2.0

      That’s why they resist…

      Reply to Comment
      • Kareem Jeans

        Shutup,you half-wit. No,wonder you walk around ashamed

        Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Don’t shut up Weiss. Especially if you ever happen to be ordered to by any nasty little non-entities about whom it can be asked, had they been born a Gentile in Germany in the 1920s would they almost certainly have been followers and likely not just followers but enthusiasts?

        Reply to Comment
        • Kareem Jeans

          Brian, what an awful comment to make.

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Kreemjeans I guess I have to spell it out: I was talking about you and people like the way you present yourself online. As a foul mouthed, petty, tag-along bully with average intellectual capacity. Now you get it don’t you? I mean, come on…surely even you are not so shameless as to defend the way you present yourself online? Because the thing is, you, in your various online reincarnations, have never accepted responsibility for your behavior. You trash people and move on. La dee dah. Who cares? You can’t be that reprobate can you? Yes you can. Because you seem like someone who follows and tags along with those who enjoy the demeanor of masters and have disdain for those not like them. You are the weak sniveling guy in the back row egging the bullies on.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kareem Jeans

            Bye Felicia

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Relax, Brian, don’t get upset by this rubbish – you know, I know, everyone knows, and even Creamjeans knows, that she is just an idiot troll, with a single brain-cell echoing loudly as it rolls around her skull, with no positive answer to anything you say but a lot of vindictive poison to spout. When she can put forward any informed or logical argument, then we will take her seriously – until then we all know that she is the best possible advertisement for the illegitimacy, immorality and absurdity of the Zionist venture.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Elisabeth

      From “The general’s son” (Miko Peled):

      “They would come upon Gazan fishing boats and from time to time they would single out a particular boat, order the fishermen to jump in the water and blow up the boat. Then under gunpoint, they told the fishermen to count from one to a hundred and then when they were done to start over again. They would make them count over and over again until one by one the fishermen could no longer tread water, and they drowned.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian


        …The Israeli occupation, on the other hand, was and had always been more brutal than Peled had known. He learned from an Israeli naval special forces officer of tactics used in patrolling the coast of Gaza:

        “They would come upon Gazan fishing boats…until one by one the fishermen could no longer tread water, and they drowned.”‘

        A Palestinian friend named Bassam Aramin, two years after Peled met him, on January 16, 2007, lost his daughter. His two daughters, aged 10 and 12 were walking home from school, holding hands, when an Israeli soldier took aim and shot the younger one in the head.

        Peled increasingly dedicated himself to the Palestinian peace movement, in which he worked with those who had been imprisoned and tortured by Israel. In doing so, he learned the history of Israel and Palestine, and the history of his own family. He learned of an Israeli massacre of civilians in Gaza in 1967, and that his father had investigated it and that his father’s views had likely been changed by it. The elder Paled had not only been prophesying brutal occupation for the future in 1967 but also acknowledging its existence already in place.

        The younger Peled also came to abandon the idea of a two-state solution, as his father had favored. Miko Peled has seen Israelis and Palestinians live together as the closest of friends. His belief is that only a single state, a secular state, a democratic state, in which all are welcome and respected, will put the violence and suffering to rest…

        Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        Total BS. Peled did not serve in the Israeli navy.

        Reply to Comment
        • Elisabeth

          Yup, but he talked to someone who did. You can interview a kapo, you know, you don’t have to be one yourself.
          And his father told him about Israeli soldiers killing hundreds of Egyptian POW’s.
          You are in denial.

          Reply to Comment