The Israeli authorities announced on Tuesday that it would return the allowed fishing area off the coast of Gaza to what was agreed upon within the context of last November’s truce agreement that ended the war.
Radio Israel said that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his Defence Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, approved the decision to expand the area in which Gaza fishermen are allowed to fish to six miles off the coast. It was reduced to three miles two months ago.
The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said that the coordinator of government activities in the Palestinian territories, Brig. Gen. Eitan Dangot, was asked to brief Palestinian Authority officials about the decision.
Two months ago, Israeli authorities claimed that a couple of homemade rockets launched at Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip had led to it closing the crossings with Gaza and reducing the fishing area to three nautical miles.
Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organisations, as well as UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, called on Israel to better facilitate life for Gaza’s residents.
Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem announced the publication of a report about the misery of Palestinian fishermen and sent a copy of it to the office of the UN Secretary General.
The report highlighted that Palestinian fishermen had been suffering since before the reduction of the fishing area as a result of Israel’s repeated aggression. Their numbers sharply decreased from 10,000 in 2000 to only 4,000 in 2010.