Israeli occupation forces attacked Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip on at least 320 occasions in 2020, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) has reported.
The Gaza-based union said on Tuesday that the Israeli Navy used heavy machine guns, shells and water cannon to harass Palestinian fishing boats and their crews. They also limited Palestinian access to Gaza’s territorial waters, restricting them to fishing just three miles offshore.
Indeed, the Israelis closed the fishing zone altogether for 16 days last August. It has been impossible for Palestinian fishermen to fish in international waters for many years.
The UAWC warned of the dramatic surge in Israeli assaults against Palestinian fishermen last year. There were 63 more attacks in 2020 than in 2019.
The Israeli Navy shot and wounded 18 Palestinian fishermen last year and detained nine others who were treated “harshly” by their captors. Furthermore, the navy partially or completely damaged 12 fishing boats and stole four others along with their equipment. Hundreds of nets have been destroyed or confiscated by the Israeli occupation forces.