Gaza's docks deserted, 21 January 2014

Following are images of the fishing docks in Gaza as captured by B'Tselem field researcher Muhammad Sabah. There is no denying the colorful sight of so many boats moored in the harbor. Yet in point of fact, the picturesque sight is evidence of a grim reality, with the boats out of commission and the docks deserted.

The Oslo Accords granted Gaza's fishermen a fishing range of 20 nautical miles (approx. 37 kilometers) from shore. Yet this arrangement was never actually implemented. Instead, over the years, the military restricted fishing to a range of three to twelve nautical miles. At present, the fishing range is limited to a mere six nautical miles (approx. 11 kilometers) off Gaza's shore. Any fishermen who venture beyond this limited range risk being shot at, arrested, and having boats and fishing gear confiscated. This policy has seriously cut into the income of thousands of families. It has also made fish – formerly a low-cost food staple in Gaza – scarce.

In addition to Israel's strict limitations on fishing, Gaza has also been experiencing a severe fuel shortage over the past few months, ever since Egypt demolished tunnels on its border and operation was suspended in the majority of remaining tunnels. Fuel from Israel is too costly for most residents of the Gaza Strip. This means that fishermen cannot afford the fuel necessary for running their boats, bringing the fishing industry to a standstill.

Boats in the harbor, 2 December 2013.
The Gaza fishing docks. Boats grounded due to fuel shortage, 21 January 2014.
Fisherman Yusuf Abu Warda, 19, of Jabaliya, examines fishing net, 27 January 2014.
Fisherman Huseein al-'Amudi, 62, of a-Shati R.C., repairs fishing nets, 21 January 2014.
Demonstration against Israel's restrictions on fishing range, Gaza, 2 December, 2013.
Foreground: demonstration at harbor; background: Gaza City, 2 December, 2013.
Boats at the harbor, 2 December, 2013.
Demonstration against Israel's restrictions on fishing range, Gaza, 2 December, 2013.
Fisherman on surfboat, 21 January 2014.

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Eyes Wide Open Photo Blog by B'Tselem is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You are free to use the photos in the blog. However, any public use of photos must include copyright credit to the photographer and B’Tselem.