New Year, old restrictions

September 12, 2023

Dear friends and colleagues,

Will you join us in our fight against Israel’s attacks on Gaza’s fishermen?

Last week, we updated you about an urgent letter we sent to the Minister of Defense and COGAT demanding an end to Israel’s decision to block all exits of goods from the Strip via Kerem Shalom. On Sunday, thanks in part to our action, Israel re-opened the crossing.

The block impacted traders and suppliers across Gaza’s industries. Fishermen were particularly vulnerable, as fish can’t be stored without electricity and electricity is a sparse resource in the Strip. One fish trader told us that in one day alone, Israel’s decision cost him a loss of some 300,000 NIS or close to 80,000 USD. He said: “I couldn’t process what I heard about the crossing being closed to exit of goods. In Gaza, we’re sick of this reality that robs us of control over our destiny.”

Daily, fishermen in Gaza are subject to restrictions on access to the sea and violent enforcement of those restrictions by the Israeli navy. Sale of fish outside the Strip has also been restricted since August last year, in an act of collective punishment.

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Gisha and Adalah are engaged in an ongoing legal battle challenging the legality of Israel’s enforcement of the “fishing zone” in Gaza’s sea-space and the state’s unprecedented request to the court to permanently confiscate fishing boats it has seized off the coast.

Following our efforts, the court ordered the state to release boats, which had been seized in Gaza in 2022, until the end of legal proceedings. This interim victory gives us hope, but the fight is not over. Gisha and Adalah’s legal battle against Israel’s attempts to permanently confiscate the boats it seizes in Gaza’s sea-space, and the dangerous precedent they are attempting to set, continues.

A boat that Israel is trying to confiscate permanently. Photo: Courtesy of Mohammed Al Hassi

Through legal and public advocacy, and together with your help, Gisha is pressing for far-reaching changes in policy towards one of Gaza’s oldest trades and for the protection of livelihoods in Gaza more broadly. We cannot do what we do without the support of partners such as yourself. Even a small action can make an impact: follow us on social media, contribute a monthly donation, and share our work with your networks.

Wishing all those who are celebrating, a meaningful New Year.

In solidarity,

All of us at Gisha

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