Gazan Fishermen in Dire Straits Amid Attacks From Israeli Forces and Border Closing

The densely-populated Gaza Strip has been under a total blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.

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Trucks are seen at the Kerem Shalom border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah on Sept. 5, 2023. (Photo by Khaled Omar/Xinhua)

Israeli security forces fired at Gazan fishermen and poured sewer water to stop them from fishing off the Gaza coast on September 8. This is the latest such incident of harassment that the people of Gaza have been facing since the blockade of the Kerem Shalom border crossing on September 4.

The densely-populated Gaza Strip has been under a total blockade imposed by Israel since 2006. The closing of the Kerem Shalom crossing is likely to have an adverse impact on the livelihood of Palestinians in Gaza and its economy. This is because it was the last remaining crossing from where transport of goods was allowed in and out of the territory.

Though no casualties were reported from Israeli fire on September 8, the incident intensifies the economic concerns of the approximately 4,000 fishermen in the besieged territory. They have been suffering due to the recent shutting of the border crossing with Israel. Palestinian fishermen are among the worst affected by the border closure, as their product is perishable. They, along with rights groups, have called the border closure a form of “collective punishment” for around 2.3 million Gazans living in the territory.

On September 4, the Israeli defense ministry and the military claimed in a joint statement that the decision to close the crossing was taken after an alleged attempt to smuggle explosives in a shipment that went through the crossing. The Israeli authorities failed to present evidence to substantiate their claim.

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