Israeli occupation forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast yesterday, causing all fishing boats to flee and leaving the fishing nets in the sea, the Syndicate of Palestinian fishermen told QudsNet.
According to the Syndicate, no causalities were reported in the incident, but it reiterated that the fishing nets “must have been damaged.”
In its report, QudsNet described the repeated Israeli strikes on Gazan fishermen as part of “training” for Israel’s naval troops.
“Since the end of last year’s Israeli offensive on Gaza, the Israeli navy has opened fire on fishermen 7,036 times, wounding 28 fishermen and killing one,” fisherman Zakaria Baker told QudsNet.
Baker revealed that the Israeli navy has been using new weapons such as guided missiles to damage the fishing boats and sink them. He also said that they intentionally damage the fishing nets and make them unusable.
In addition, Baker added that the Israeli navy has blocked more than 90 fishing boats in Ashdod Seaport, all of which were confiscated from fishermen during their work.
Baker said that the Israeli measures have pushed hundreds of fishermen to stop working and thus caused hundreds of families to lose their source of income.
The head of the Association of Palestinian Fishermen, Mahfouz Al-Kabariti, spoke to QudsNet and explained that the Israeli navy targets Palestinian fishermen for a variety of reasons, including: “Pushing fishermen to leave their profession, which is a good sources of income, blackmailing fishermen who are arrested to get intelligence information and to keep the fishermen away from the area which contains natural gas reserves.”
Al-Kabariti complained of the lack of official Palestinian, Arabic and international solidarity with the Palestinian fishermen. He also complained of the lack of sustained support from international NGOs, whose role is limited to relief efforts.
Al-Kabariti called on Palestinian, Arab and international officials, as well as NGO executives, to put pressure on the Israeli occupation to stop its violations against fishermen.