The Islamic Resistance Movement has said that Israel’s decision to reduce the fishing limit imposed on the Palestinians of Gaza from six nautical miles as agreed as part of the truce last November, to three nautical miles, is a violation of the terms of the deal. The truce between Hamas and Israel brought to an end the Israelis’ eight-day offensive against the people of the Gaza Strip. Hamas insisted that Israel should be held responsible for any consequences arising from its decision.
Observers regard the revised Israeli restriction as a “real violation” of the truce, although there have been more than 100 occasions when Israel has in fact broken the terms since November; this is the first apparent outcome of the visit of the US President Barack Obama to Israel and the occupied West Bank. During his visit, Obama affirmed his belief that Palestinians “must accept the Jewish identity of Israel”; he ignored Palestinian rights.
A spokesman for the Palestinian government led by Hamas in Gaza, Taher Al-Nunu, warned of the consequences of the Israeli retraction of an important condition of the truce deal and called for Egypt, which brokered the deal, to use its position to resolve the issue. Israel has also closed the Karem Shalom commercial border crossing which has been the only such cross-border option for commercial traffic to and from Gaza since the start of the Israeli-led siege in 2006.
A spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces claimed that the moves by Israel were in response to 5 rockets fired from Gaza. According to the Palestinians, however, no rockets were fired at the time that Israel alleges; indeed, no faction claimed responsibility for firing any rockets at all. Al-Jazeera correspondent in Gaza Wael al-Dahdouh told the TV audience that Israel’s claim about rockets from Gaza was an excuse to breach the truce with Hamas.
Ever since the re-introduction of the 3-mile fishing limit, the skies over the Gaza Strip have seen a lot of activity by Israeli fighter jets. The Gaza government evacuated most of its offices as a precaution against a new wave of Israeli bombs and assassination attempts.
Independent parliamentarian Jamal al-Khodari condemned the punishing new Israeli measures. He said that the Gaza Strip cannot bear more restrictions and that he is trying to use his contacts with Turkish and Western officials to put pressure on Israel to lift the siege completely.