by Rosa Schiano
21 December 2011 | Civil Peace Service Gaza
The Oliva sailed from Gaza Seaport at 8:15 am. The Palestinian captain and two international observers from CPS staff were on boardAt 8:45 am Oliva reached four hasakas in the north of the Strip, about 2.2 nautical miles off shore (31° 35.40N / 034° 26.29E).
At 9:20 am the crew sighted an Israelis navy vessel moving toward the four hasakas and Oliva at a high rate of speed. The four hasakas and Oliva started to move toward the coast. The Israeli navy vessel continued to run after the hasakas and Oliva reaching 1.5 nautical miles off shore (31° 34.68N / 034° 26.49E) and then hanging back.
At 10:20 am the same Israeli navy vessels approached the four hasakas which were within the area marked by the float located about 2 miles off shore on the northern limit imposed on Palestinian fishing area (31° 35.41N / 034° 26.57E), continuing harassing them and shooting several times in the water.
At 11:00 am the Israeli navy vessels hanged back and Oliva returned to the port of Gaza.
Restrictions on the fishing zone are of comparable significance to Palestinian livelihood. This area was supposed to be 20 miles according to the Jericho agreements from 1994 (under the Oslo accords), then it was reduced to 12 miles, to 6 miles and now to 3 miles since January 2009. The marine ‘buffer zone’ restricts Gazan fishermen from accessing 85% of Gaza’s fishing waters agreed to by Oslo.
Israel has been regularly attacking Palestinian fishermen within the purported 3 nautical mile fishing limit. The livelihood of many Gazans relies on fishing and Israel has been using live ammunition and water cannons to prevent fishermen from doing their work.
The Israeli Siege continues after more than 4 years, limiting the sea area available for the Gaza population.
The Civil Peace Services continue monitoring potential human rights violations at the sea in front of the Gaza Strip.