The Daily Suffering of Gaza Fishermen

Everyday in the news, I hear about the suffering of the Gaza fishermen: one was killed, others wounded, and the Israelis are firing on still others. And I wanted to shed a light on their pain.

I went to the main Gaza port. While I was there, I figured out how sad the sea and the fishermen are. Boats are stuck and fishermen are looking at the sea with no hope.

The Palestinian fishermen have been consistently harassed by the regular Israeli attacks on them, as they abuse the fishermen for pursuing their livelihood. Furthermore, they are prevented to work for far distances inside the sea. The allowed distance for them is just around 4.5 Km. Unfortunately, once they reach that distance, they find themselves under Israeli fire.

Around 3000 fishermen are now despondently jobless and in a real tragedy. The tragedy began with the complete blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip. The fishermen are prohibited from going to a deeper and richer area of fishing, and they have been dramatically affected with these restrictions from the Israeli navy forces. Indeed, they now have very low incomes with which to feed their families.

Ismael Kalilo is a 65-year old fisherman in Gaza City, who has spent 50 years of his life in the sea, and now lives in the Beach Camp. “I am totally satisfied to be a fisherman in Gaza, but completely exhausted by the conditions imposed on us.”

The aged fisherman is also a father of 8. I asked him how he takes care of his dependents, and how he feeds them: “No one can bear the situation that the fishermen are living with. He should go to the sea and see how much they suffer. We were peacefully fishing before the time of the siege on Gaza, as we just depended on our livelihood. We have become unable to secure even the basic needs of our life.

I asked him about his own experience regarding the Israeli navy forces. He took deep breath, then pointed at his son to tell us the story. Ahmed is 24 years old, and is also a fisherman.

“I was with my boat about a year ago at Sudania coast, north of the Gaza Strip,” he said. “With no alert and at 10 pm, I found that the Israeli ship started firing missiles toward my boat, exactly at my net. They ordered me to get back without my net. I tried to save my big net, which costs around $2000, but it was in vain. Then I found myself obliged after staying in the sea from 10am to 7am to get back home, and they took the net — including what I had fished. That even had increased our tragedy, as they took the net which we all depend on for fishing.”

“We are passing through a rough time, and we are suffering,” said Ismeal, as he took me to see the bullets still in the boats, the fishermen unable to get them repaired. “The siege has suffocated us for almost 3 years.”

Ismeal finished his interview with me, calling upon all of those people who claimed humanity, to stand beside the Palestinian people, their besieged people in Gaza, and to take responsibility for ending this daily suffering.

Ayman T. Quader is a peace activist, humanitarian, and child relief worker. He can be reached at: Read other articles by Ayman, or visit Ayman's website.

7 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 6th, 2009 at 7:53pm #

    You never get surprised by Israeli sadism. No doubt some vicious golem will pipe up that these are ‘two-legged terrorists’, who deserve all they get for refusing to disappear as the Universe’s supreme creatures destroy their society. The sheer cowardice of the Israelis also never fails to impress. No doubt the years of martial valour in killing school-children, humiliating old men and women at check-points, shooting ‘suspects’ while they sleep, all contributed to Israel’s miserable performance in South Lebanon in 2006. The insult to their psychopathic delusions of racial and civilizational supremacism has rankled ever since.

  2. kalidas said on September 7th, 2009 at 8:42am #

    Ponerology personified.
    Meet the new “Israelis,” same as the old “Israelis.”

  3. mary said on September 7th, 2009 at 2:30pm #

    Likewise, the suffering of the farmers and their families continues. Young Ghazi’s life has been taken from him.

    IOF Willfully Kill a Child in Beit Hanoun Town, Northern Gaza

    On Friday afternoon, 4 September 2009, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed a 14-year-old child, Ghazi al-Za’anin, in Beit Hanoun town in the northern Gaza Strip. IOF troops shot the child from close range, while he was walking with his family. This child was the second to be killed by IOF in less than a week.

    Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) investigations, and eye-witness testimony, indicates that, at approximately 13:40 on Friday, 4 September 2009, Maher Ghazi al-Za’anin drove his four children, including Ghazi, 14, to their farm, 500 meters away from the border with Israel, in the northeast of Beit Hanoun town. Before arriving at the farm, al-Za’anin and his children stepped down from the car and approached their land on foot. On their way to the farm, they were surprised by an Israeli military jeep that stopped opposite to them. Al-Za’anin and his children were frightened, and ran away. IOF soldiers who were inside the jeep immediately opened fire. Ghazi was wounded by a bullet to the head and fell to the ground. The father carried the child to their car, whereupon IOF soldiers fired at the car, hitting it with two bullets. The father drove to Beit Hanoun Hospital and the child was transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as he was in a critical condition. Ghazi was admitted to the intensive care unit, where he was pronounced dead on the following morning, Saturday, 5 September 2009.

    PCHR has recently documented many cases in which IOF positioned along the border opened fired at agricultural areas and houses. It is believed that these attacks are intended to deny Palestinian farmers access to their agricultural land, some of which lie within the so-called ‘buffer zone’.

    PCHR strongly condemns the murder of a child by IOF, and:

    1. Reiterates condemnation of this latest crime, which is part of a series of crimes committed by IOF in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

    2. Calls upon the international community to promptly and urgently take action in order to stop such crimes, and renews its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations and provide protection to Palestinian civilians in the OPT.

  4. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 8th, 2009 at 2:25am #

    mary, remember, as far as the Judeofascists are concerned these victims are ‘two-legged animals’. Or, as the ‘revered’ Rabbi Kook the Elder said, ‘There is a greater difference between the soul of a Jew and a non-Jew…as there is between the soul of a non- Jew and that of an animal’. So, for the monsters who killed this boy out of sheer murderous bloodlust, it was no more than killing an animal, for sport. Not to forget that as good, observant, religious Jews, these criminals are brought up to believe that their God absolutely insists that children and even babes be extirpated as well as the adults, particularly if the victims can be labeled ‘Amalek’, which innumerable fundamentalist Judaic authorities are keen so to do, with everyone from the Palestinians, Moslems, Arabs all the way to the ‘United States of Amalek’ thus labeled. And these lunatics are armed to the teeth with hundreds of thermo-nuclear weapons.

  5. mary said on September 8th, 2009 at 7:46am #

    Mulga – Quite right. You mention rabbis. There was a chilling filmed report on BBC 2 Newsnight last night by Katya Adler who reports from Israhell. It was extremely chilling to watch as we were told that ‘Israel’s wars are now God’s Wars’. Military rabbi cadets are trained at military school. Some of them were ‘in battle’ along with the IDF soldiers in Gaza during Cast Lead. Evil is the only word I can think of to describe this development.

  6. mary said on September 8th, 2009 at 8:09am #

    Someone from the Southern Hemisphere like yourself keeps a watching brief on the Israeli atrocities and publishes a daily bulletin. He is Leslie Bravery in New Zealand from the Palestine Monitoring Group. Leslie must spend many hours on his PC willing that this torment should stop and that justice and humanity prevail. Below is an average 24 hour’s ‘activity’. The gunboats fire on fishing boats every day – including on Shabbat – see below. Last week they decapitated a fisherman father and husband with ?cannon fire or rocket.

    The pitiless torment, imprisonment and killing goes on hour by hour. The ‘European’ governments are silent, as are Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others.

    This is yesterday’s edition.

  7. Mulga Mumblebrain said on September 8th, 2009 at 7:41pm #

    Yes mary, the appropriate term is pitiless. But, as you observed, the Israeli death-forces are increasingly dominated by fundamentalist offices and rabbis, who, being associated with the settler Judaic Taliban, regard all non-Jews, but the Palestinians in particular, as sub-human. They do this in exactly the same manner as German Nazis regarded Jews, Roma and Slavs as untermenschen. That is why comparing Israel to Nazi Germany is unavoidable. As in Germany, not all Israelis are Nazis, but like Germany, those in power demonstrably are.
    That is why all the talk of ‘Amalek’ in reference to Iran is so chilling. Amalek is code-word for religiously ordained genocide. After all the Judaic Torah, our Old Testament, is a litany of slaughter and genocide carried out in accordance with God’s explicit orders. Not only is it plainly motivating the Israeli fundamentalist Right, as witnessed by the targeting of women and children in Gaza, while applauding fundamentalist Jews sat on deck-chairs in Israel, cheering on the slaughter, but it was the justification for other European exterminationist abominations from North America to South Africa. What is worse this sort of Christian Zionist racism and exterminism, is now rampant in the US military and in private death-squads like Blackwater, headed by the Christian fundamentalist psychopath Erik Prince. We are entering evil times, times of pitiless racist violence and cruelty, just as our dying planet needs us all to pull together. I remain convinced that for the evil Right, that the two are linked, with the Right determined to achieve ecological balance by a massive cull of the racially despised ‘useless eaters’. We may look back in a few years to the present surge in religious evil as the prelude to unimaginable horror.