Israel Navy Attacks International Boat in Gaza

Israeli naval forces attacked an international third party monitor on Wednesday in Gazan territorial waters.

Civil Peace Service Gaza works as part of a non-violent initiative to monitor human rights abuses in Gaza.

Israeli forces fired at the CPS Gaza monitoring boat, the Oliva, with water cannons on Wednesday at 12.05 p.m local time, a statement by the organization said.

There were four people aboard at the time, two CPS Gaza members, the captain and a journalist.

"We were fewer than two miles away from the Gaza coast when they fired at us. We saw them firing water at some fishing boats so we headed to the area. When we got close, the warships left the fishing boats, and turned on us.

"They attacked us for about ten minutes, following us as we tried to head to shore and eventually lagged when we reached about one mile off the Gaza coast," British human rights worker Ruqaya Al-Samarrai said.

A fishing boat was also fired at and damaged with live rounds.

An Israeli army spokesman said he was unaware of the incident.

The Gazan fishing community is often similarly targeted and the fishing limit is enforced with comparable aggression, with boats shot at or rammed as near as 2 nautical miles to the coast by Israeli gunboats, CBS Gaza added.

A marine blockade imposed by Israel restricts Gazan fisherman from accessing eighty five percent of Gaza’s fishing waters as agreed upon under the Oslo agreements.

Following the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006 the Israeli navy imposed a complete sea blockade on the Gaza Strip for several months.

After Hamas took control of the coastal enclave in 2007, Israel limited fishing access to 3 nautical miles from the coast.

During the Oslo accords negotiators had agreed upon 20 nautical miles of fishing access along Gaza’s coastline.

Rights groups have condemned the blockade of Gaza as a form of collective punishment of the 1.6 million residents.

(Ma’an News)

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