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Israeli authorities crack down on Arab fishermen

Israel to return 20 boats to Gaza fishermen on 2 July 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Israel to return 20 boats to Gaza fishermen on 2 July 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

The Israeli authorities in Yafa (Jaffa) are continuing to crack down on Arab fishermen in order to stop them from working, Arab48.com reported on Tuesday.

A number of Arab fishermen, all of them Israeli citizens, reported to the media outlet that the port administration is behind the latest damage to their nets and fishing boats. The intention, it is alleged, is to uproot the fishermen from their homes in the city, where they have lived since before the state of Israel was created in their land in 1948. Their families did not flee during the Nakba.

Arab residents of Yafa are standing beside the fishermen and have undermined an attempt by Tel Aviv municipality to push the men out of the port under the pretext of plans to carry out renovation work.

Protests were organised which closed the road leading to the port. Petitions were also submitted against the municipality, which put a stop to its harassment.

READ: Israel navy fires at Gaza fishermen, forcing them back to shore

“The administration of the port threw the fishing nets away,” explained the Head of the Fishermen’s Committee, Sa’do Zeinab. “It claimed that its staff thought that they were no longer any good for fishing.” He told Arab 48 that the Israelis also “smashed” a number of fishing boats, claiming that they were making way for municipality-owned vessels.

“The years-long conflict between the fishermen and the Israeli authorities is a battle of resilience against deportation,” said Zeinab. “The authorities plan to deport every Arab fisherman in order to erase the Arab identity of the port.”

He concluded by pointing out that the fishermen are looking at ways to escalate their protests.

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