22 April 2011 | Civil Peace Service Gaza
On Wednesday 20th of April, at 11:30 (local time), more than 40 international and local organizations launched a human rights monitoring mission to report potential violations in Palestinian waters.
Deploying an international third-party nonviolent Civil Peace Service in Palestinian territorial water is not the initiative of a single organization, but a project done with the effort of many.
It comes as a response to the needs expressed by Palestinian fishermen and identified by local organizations such as the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, an organization with consultant status in the United Nations, and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees. These groups denounce the continuous attacks suffered by Palestinian fishing boats even inside the limits imposed by Israel, which are reduced to three nautical miles from the original 20 nautical miles established in the Oslo Accords (1994).
The launch of the Oliva, the boat that will carry on the mission, was part of the activities of the 6th International Conference about Palestinian Popular Struggle in Bi’lin, organized by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee. Large number of international and local media covered the event. High representatives of the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and more than twenty European consulates were present for the launch.
The Oliva will start its mission next week. It will have an international crew, trained in human rights monitoring and international law, and will be equipped with video cameras and radios to maintain permanent contact with the land team.
The initiative results from coordinated efforts between civil society organizations in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and internationally.