fishing under fire

Israeli gunboats daily shell and fire upon Palestinian fishermen fishing well-within the limits, as well as on residents living along Gaza’s coast. Oslo accorded Palestinians the right to fish 20 nautical miles of the coast of Gaza. Yet Israel has critically and illegally down-sized this to under 3 miles, even firing on and abducting fishermen under 1 mile from the coast.
The Israeli navy uses different tactics of torture to punish the fishermen for persistently fishing, including shooting with live ammunition (on numerous occasions injuring fishermen), shelling, shooting with high-powered water cannons [all of which is simultaneously designed to damage the boats and equipment], at gunpoint forcing fishermen to strip naked and (after a long wait in the cold air) to jump into freezing waters and swim over 50m to the waiting naval ship before hauling the fishermen up, blindfolding and handcuffing them, and abducting them to Israel for interrogation unrelated to issues of fishing.

Geopolitiks: Eva Bartlett of InGaza on Human Rights in Palestine

Feb 19, 2014, Media Monarchy & Geopolitiks

I had an enjoyable discussion with James Evan Pilato of Media Monarchy for his new series: Geopolitiks.

Eva Bartlett follows in the footsteps of Rachel Corrie.” As she continues her US speaking tour about human rights in Palestine, activist and journalist Eva Bartlett joins us for the second episode of Geopolitiks to talk about her years spent volunteering in Gaza documenting the various angles of life under siege, from the “peacetalks to Israeli war crimes and much more.

Observations from Occupied Palestine: Gaza

tunnel workers_small

first published at Crescent International, Eva Bartlett

[see Observations from Occupied Palestine, Part 1]

Unusually heavy torrential rains last month inundated much of Gaza, which was already reeling from a tight Israeli-Egyptian siege since 2006. Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected with more than 5,000 evacuated from their homes. Power outages of 20-22 hours daily, or complete days, have become the norm, affecting every facet of life in Gaza.

The Gaza Strip, a 40 km long, 12 km at its widest point, 365 square metre strip of land is host to 1.7 million Palestinians, two thirds of whom are refugees.

While Gaza’s suffering extends decades back, since 2006 much of the world has cut ties with Gaza, and since 2007 Israel, supported by Egyptian and Western powers, has enforced a full blockade on the Strip.

It is not merely an economic blockade, but rather a full lock-down on movement, goods, access to health care outside, and limiting the import of fuel, cooking gas, and medicines, to name some items, into the enclave. It impacts on every facet of life imaginable.

In November 2008, I joined a boat of European Parliamentarians sailing from Cyprus to the Strip, attempting to symbolically break the blockade. Apart from the act of solidarity, it was also my sole means of entering Gaza. With all but one border crossing controlled by Israel, and the remaining crossing by the complicit Mubarak rule in Egypt, entry by sea was the only option. However, the outcome was not certain: Israel also controls Palestinian waters.
CONTINUE READING

Gaza: genocide, food insecurity, sewage flooding, and the usual IOF attacks on civilians

http://america.aljazeera.com/content/ajam/articles/2013/12/13/massive-floodingingazacausesthousandstofleehomes/_jcr_content/mainpar/imageslideshow/slideShowImages/slide1/image.adapt.960.high.jpg http://ph.cdn.photos.upi.com/collection/upi/7fb0fbd0e61fb4b206e961fe86f489f2/Dozens-of-homes-and-farms-inundated-by-flood-waters-in-Gaza_12.jpg  http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/x/www.nst.com.my/w1.nst.com.my/polopoly_fs/1.432664.1387023946!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_454/ximage.jpg.pagespeed.ic.pQfvILFjga.jpg http://desertpeace.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/flood14.jpg?w=168&h=112 http://i1.wp.com/www.jewishpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/raw-sewage-in-gaza-street.jpg?resize=465%2C312
*******************************************************************************

Storm exacerbates sewage crisis in Gaza, Dec 20, 2013

On 13 November, more than 35,000 cubic meters of raw sewage overflowed when the Zaytoun pumping station failed, affecting 3,000 nearby residents. Just as the mess was being cleaned up, the area was again inundated — this time with approximately twice as much waste — when heavy rains fell over the Gaza Strip between 11 and 15 December.  CONTINUE READING

R2P Gaza

It is important to recall, with the current lack of coverage, that the siege on Gaza continues full steam ahead, leaving Palestinians in Gaza (and analysts, human rights organizations, and the casual observer) to say that it is now as bad as it was in 2007. As much potential, culture, and knowledge as Palestinians have, they are forever being forced backwards, grateful for whatever stop-gap for whatever crisis is at the time inflicted upon them. In these times of rolling power outages, fuel and cooking gas crises, medicines and equipment shortages (“zero stock”), inventions and innovations to get around the lack of fuel or deal with no electricity are prized. CONTINUE READING

Gaza news

Egypt arrests two Gaza fishermen

(AFP) Sep 14, 2013

Egyptian naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza Strip’s southern coast and arrested two of them, the Islamist movement Hamas that rules the Palestinian enclave said.

Hamas “condemns the fire from Egyptian gunboats toward Palestinians within Palestinian waters, and the arrest of some of them,” movement spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.

A local security source said Egyptian navy forces opened fire at two fishermen in waters off the southern Gaza city Rafah and arrested them, noting there were no injuries in the incident.

This was the second time in recent weeks that Egyptian forces have opened fire at Gaza fishermen and made arrests. On August 30 two Palestinian fishermen were wounded and five others arrested by Egyptian navy forces, according to Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007

And on Thursday, two Egyptian army tanks crossed an initial border fence leading to Gaza for the first time. CONTINUE READING

Israel Pirating in Palestinian waters

Though you wouldn’t know it from the lack of media coverage, for decades Israel has been committing acts of piracy in Palestinian waters: Attacking, kidnapping and stealing from Palestinian fishers, sometimes just a mile off the Gaza Strip’s coast.

Despite pledges of restraint, the Israeli navy’s attacks have continued since the November 2012 ceasefire between Israeli authorities and the Palestinian resistance. The Mezan Centre for Human Rights noted on March 24, 2013, that “Since the ceasefire agreement, Israeli occupying forces have carried out 44 attacks against fishermen in Gaza’s waters, injuring four fishermen. Israeli forces arrested 44 fishermen, confiscated nine boats, and damaged fishing equipment on five separate occasions.”

FULL ARTICLE AT RT.COM

see also:

Gaza’s Ark: Trade, Not Aid

Palestinian fishers are hit hard by the Israeli blockade on Gaza. Credit: Emad Badwan/IPS.

Palestinian fishers are hit hard by the Israeli blockade on Gaza. Credit: Emad Badwan/IPS.

First Published at IPS – By Eva Bartlett

*blog version longer than published version

“An ark is literally a large floating vessel designed to keep its passengers and cargo safe,” say the group preparing ‘Gaza’s Ark’. But their ark, they say, is “a vessel that embodies hope that the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip can soon live in peace without the threat of the Israeli blockade.”

An initiative by Palestinians in Gaza and international solidarity activists, Gaza’s Ark entails “purchasing a run-down boat from a local fishing family,” says Michael Coleman, a member of Free Gaza Australia and on the Gaza’s Ark steering committee.

“The refurbishing will be done by Palestinians in the port of Gaza, and the sailing will be with a mixed crew of Palestinians and internationals,” says David Heap, spokesperson for Gaza’s Ark in Canada and Europe. The sailing date has not been announced yet.

Pointing to a weathered fishing trawler with a ‘for sale’ sign painted on it, Mahfouz Kabariti, president of Gaza’s Fishing and Marine Sports Association, points to fishers’ poverty.

“Why sell?” he asks. “Because of years of poor incomes from Israeli restrictions on sea, many fishers have debts they cannot pay off. Fishers were optimistic when the Israelis re-extended the fishing limit six miles. We hoped that maybe it would be extended to 12 miles.”

The Ark initiative includes exporting a token amount of trade goods from Palestinian artisans, an act which Coleman admits is “symbolic” but necessary. CONTINUE READING

Ceasefire Means ‘Nothing’ to Gaza Fishers

Mohammed Baker

Mohammed Baker (70) has been fishing for half a century. He remembers the days when Palestinian fishers could go out to sea without fear of being attacked, arrested or killed.

first published at IPS -by Eva Bartlett

Shortly after Israel and Hamas signed a ceasefire agreement on Nov. 21, the Israeli navy abducted 30 Palestinian fishers from Gaza’s waters, destroyed and sank a Palestinian fishing vessel, and confiscated nine fishing boats in the space of four days.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that fourteen fishers from a single family, stationed just three nautical miles from the coast of the Gaza Strip, were all arrested on Dec 1.

Some fishers were only two miles off Gaza’s coast when they were attacked with machine gun fire and arrested by the Israeli Navy. Ranging from the ages of 14 to 52, the majority in their late teens and early twenties, these fishers hail from some of Gaza’s poorest families. CONTINUE READING

Gaza Farmers and Fishers Find Canadian Support

Mohammed Al-Bakri from Gaza’s Union of Agricultural Work Committees points out the “no-go” zones for Palestinian fishers and farmers.

Gaza City, IPS- By Eva Bartlett (blog version longer than original published)

“From the coast to eight miles out, the sea is like a desert: it’s sandy and there are no fish.” Mohammed Al-Bakri traces a thick line on the wall map before him, following the lines of Gaza’s eastern and northern borders, continuing south from three miles off the coast.

General manager of Gaza’s Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Bakri is well-versed in the woes of the Strip’s fishers and farmers. He explains the insufficient fishing waters Palestinians are limited to, and the consequences of being on the sea at all.

“The Israeli navy attacks the fishermen, arrests them and takes their boats, CONTINUE READING

notes on Palestine’s preventable water and food crises

*Gaza City life issues graffiti

Gaza is an ancient centre of habitation that has survived for 4,000 years, at various times in the face of marginalisation and destruction. Today it represents an essentially urban economy, isolated and kept alive through external funding, the illegal tunnel economy, and the ingenuity and persistence of its people.” –UN press release, Aug 2012

Water facts from the Aug 2012 UN report (Gaza in 2020: a livable place?) on the steady decimation of Gaza and its rapid plunge to being an (even more) “unlivable place”:

-Gaza’s coastal aquifer may become unusable by 2016 and damage to it irreversible by 2020 CONTINUE READING