In a distressing incident on Saturday, May 20, 2023, Israeli naval forces launched an attack on Palestinian fishermen sailing off the coasts of Gaza City, Khan Younis, and Rafah, located in the north and south of the Gaza Strip. The assault resulted in the fishermen being forced to return to the shore for their safety.
Local sources reported that earlier in the day, Israeli naval forces unleashed gunfire and water cannons on fishermen who were sailing at approximately three nautical miles from the Al-Sudaniya area in Gaza City. The relentless assault compelled the fishermen to abandon their fishing expedition and hastily return to the shore. Fortunately, no injuries were reported in this particular incident.
The Israeli navy didn’t limit its aggression to Gaza City alone. They also targeted fishermen’s boats off the coasts of Khan Younis and Rafah, located in the southern region of the Gaza Strip. The attack occurred when the fishermen were approximately five nautical miles away from the shore.
Since 2007, ‘Israel’ has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip and maintained tight restrictions on the work of fishermen in the Gaza Sea, ostensibly due to security concerns. However, this incident is part of a pattern where the Israeli navy deliberately targets fishing boats on a daily basis. The Israelis employ various methods, including opening fire, using water cannons, and damaging fishing nets and boat engines, in an attempt to intimidate and terrorize the fishermen.
The Gaza Strip houses an estimated 3,000 fishermen, out of which only 800 are currently able to work on around 700 boats. Official Palestinian statistics indicate that approximately 70,000 Palestinians in Gaza directly or indirectly rely on fishing as a means of livelihood.
This latest act of aggression by the Israeli naval forces has further strained the already tense situation in the region. It highlights the ongoing challenges faced by Palestinian fishermen who are consistently subjected to harassment and restrictions while attempting to earn a living and provide for their families. The international community continues to monitor the situation closely, with many urging a peaceful resolution to the conflict in order to ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals involved.