Deterioration of Living Condition For 4860 Fishermen and Workers in Associated Professions
Date: 26 April 2021
Time: 10:30 GMT
On Monday, 26 April 2021, Israeli authorities closed Gaza Sea completely and prevented fishermen from sailing and fishing. These Israeli measures are part of the Israeli collective punishment policy practiced against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip that aims to harass fishermen and prevent them from sailing and fishing freely in areas where fish breed.
According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)’s follow-up, the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) declared the complete closure of Gaza Sea, starting from 06:00 on Monday until further notice. The Israeli Coordinator stated that, “This decision came in response to the launch of rockets towards Israeli settlements adjacent to the Gaza Strip.”
This decision is part of Israel’s policy of inhuman and illegal closure and collective punishment against the Gaza Strip. As a result, the livelihoods of 4,160 fishermen and 700 workers in professions associated with the fishing sector; the main providers for their families (a total of 27,700 persons) are threatened with further deterioration. Even before this decision, Gazan fishermen already suffered and were unable to fish and sail freely in the allowed fishing area due to the recurrent Israeli attacks at sea, the entry ban of equipment and necessary supplies for fishermen. Consequently, hundreds of fishermen are effectively unable to provide their families’ basic needs, such as food, medicine, clothing, and education.
Furthermore, the impact of the new Israeli decisions would deepen the humanitarian and living crises in the Gaza Strip, especially raising unemployment, poverty and food insecurity. Statistics pre-recent restrictions indicate a dangerous unemployment rate at 45%, i.e. 217,100 unemployed workers; this rate is highest among youth at 63%. Also, more than half of the Gaza Strip population suffers poverty, as data from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) indicate that the prevalence of poverty among the Gaza Strip population exceeds 53%, and more than 62.2% of the Gaza population is classified as food insecure according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
PCHR emphasizes that the Israeli decision to close the Gaza Sea violates the economic and social rights of Palestinian fishermen and violates their right to work stipulated in Article (6) of the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The ongoing Israeli attacks against fishermen also constitutes a flagrant violation of the international humanitarian law.
Calls upon the Israeli authorities to reverse the decision to close the sea immediately and to enable fishermen to fish and sail freely, especially that they do not pose threat to the Israeli naval forces;
Calls for an immediate end to the constant chasing of fishermen and allow them to fish and sail freely; and
Calls upon the international community to pressure the Israeli authorities into ending the naval blockade, which led to the deterioration of fishermen and their families’ living conditions, and stopping all violations against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip.