The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) launched a fishing boat Wednesday with the aim of protecting Gaza fishermen from what they termed Israeli violations, and ending Israel's naval siege of the coastal enclave.
Activists from the pro-Palestinian group and local fishermen attended the launch ceremony at a dock in the Gaza Strip.
The crew of the Oliva is to be provided with cameras to document activities and "the suffering of Gaza fishermen in their sea," said a Spanish ISM activist who gave her name as Enji.
The 1993-1994 Oslo Israeli-Palestinian interim peace accords delineated an offshore area available to Gaza fishermen. However, activists say that since Israel's military offensive against Gaza militias in 2008-2009, this area has been reduced to a 3-kilometer- wide strip.
Gaza has approximately 3,500 fishermen. Israeli naval vessels patrolling the Gaza coast regularly open fire at fishing boats for allegedly violated the no-fishing zone, or appearing to act suspiciously.
"Since March 2010, Gaza rights groups archived Israeli naval forces attacks on fishermen, where 53 of them had been shot and wounded," Enji, said, adding that "more than 17 fishing boats were confiscated."
She went on saying that relying on these facts, "we decided to go to Gaza to help the fishermen there and document the violations." carried out by the Israeli occupation forces against them."
Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian ISM activist in the Gaza Strip, was murdered 10 days ago by radical Islamists hours after he had been kidnapped.
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