Following the expansion of the fishing zone in southern parts of the Gaza Strip by Israel to nine nautical miles last month, Israel, once again, announced reducing it to six nautical miles across the coastal enclave.
Nizar Ayyash, the head of the Palestinian Fishers Syndicate in Gaza, said the Israeli authorities have informed Palestinian fishermen about the unilateral reduction of the fishing zone.
Ayash affirmed that the Israeli move violates the rights of Palestinian fishermen as stipulated in agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. According to the Oslo Accords of 1993, Gaza fishermen could go out to a distance of 20 nautical miles.
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During May, Israel arrested some 20 Palestinian fishermen while fishing within the six nautical miles of the Gaza coastline.
There are more than 4,000 fishers and around 700 boats in the Gaza Strip providing livelihood to many of the 70,000 Palestinians. They face the regular challenge of the Israeli military and navy that keep attacking them, kidnapping them and confiscating their boats, in addition to the dozens of casualties, including fatalities, resulting from these violations.
A week ago, the al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights said that Israel carried out at least 17 attacks against Gaza fishers since the beginning of this year, and kidnapped 65 of them.
The Gaza Strip has been placed under tight Israeli siege from land, sea and air since 2006, which further decreased the limit of the fishing zone for Palestinian fishermen.