The Intifada Youth Coalition stated that it launched on Monday [December 2, 2013] what it called the Convoy of Steadfastness and Justice, to challenge the illegal Israeli siege on Gaza, by sailing towards international waters.In its statement, the coalition stated that the Palestinians will not allow Israel’s illegitimate and unjust siege to continue, and will break it.

It said it would be sailing beyond the six nautical miles, unilaterally set by Israel, in order to raise international attention and awareness regarding the ongoing suffering which Palestinian fishermen face due to escalating Israeli attacks.

The coalition said that twenty Palestinian boats, also carrying journalists and international peace activists, would be sailing out of Gaza.

The Israeli Navy deployed additional ships close to the Gaza coast in an attempt to stop the Palestinian boats.

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When Israel imposed the illegal siege on Gaza in 2006, the fishermen were limited to only three nautical miles off the Gaza shore.

Yet, the fishermen and their boats are constantly attacked even within those three miles leading to dozens of casualties, and excessive property damage. The soldiers also took prisoner several fishermen.

As part of the ceasefire agreement of November 2012, Israel agreed to allow the Palestinians to fish within six nautical miles of the shore, but unilaterally decreased the allotted area to three miles.

Last May, Israel decided to allow the fishermen to fish within six nautical miles of the Gaza shore, but the Navy continued to attack them even within the three nautical miles.

Under the Oslo accords in the mid-nineties, the Palestinians are supposed to be allowed to fish in 20 nautical miles off the Gaza shore, but Tel Aviv constantly violated the accord.