Israeli naval forces opened heavy fire, on Sunday, towards Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Khan Younis and Rafah, in the southern besieged Gaza Strip.
Eyewitnesses said that the Israeli navy repeatedly opened fire towards a number of Palestinian fishing boats, which were working within the permitted fishing zone, forcing the fishermen to head back to shore in fear for their lives.
No injuries were reported, according to Ma’an.
According to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israelâ€™s blockade of the coastal enclave has seriously undermined the ability for Gazan fishermen to make a living at sea.
The Israeli army regularly detains and opens fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen, shepherds, and farmers along the border areas if they approach the unilaterally declared buffer zone.
Israeli human rights group B’Tselem recently concluded that Israel’s Gaza closure and “harassment of fishermen” have been “destroying Gaza’s fishing sector,” with 95% of fishermen living below the poverty line.
Local rights organization, Al-Haq, has documented many cases of Israeli aggression toward Palestinian fishermen off the Gazan coast, calling Israel’s action against the fishermen “collective punishment” that imposes “difficult economic and social conditions.”
(PNN archive image)
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Chris Carlson is a student of religion at Mount Mercy University, United States, and has been a regular volunteer with the IMEMC since 2013. He assisted in providing extensive coverage of the 2014 Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip and continues, into the present day, with the issues at hand. He can be reached via email at c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g.