Israel Lifts Gaza Fishing Restrictions as Tensions Calm After Flare-up

Jack Khoury
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A fisherman tidying a boat in the Gaza City port, this week.
A fisherman tidying a boat in the Gaza City port, this week.Credit: MAHMUD HAMS - AFP
Jack Khoury

Israel reopened the fishing zone in the Gaza Strip Thursday after three days of closure, following hostilities between Israel and the Strip over the weekend.

The fishing zone was opened to 15 nautical miles from the shore. The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said, "The reopening is conditioned upon the maintained calm and stability along the border."

No rockets were fired toward Israel on Wednesday. On Tuesday, only two rockets were fired and both fell back within Gaza. Over the weekend dozens of rockets were fired toward Israel from the Strip, and the Israeli army attacked Hamas targets in Gaza.

In announcing the restrictions on fishing Monday, Israel said that "Hamas is responsible for every action against Israel that comes out of the Strip, and it will suffer the consequences for violence against Israeli citizens."

On Wednesday, Hamas announced that if the Palestinian parliamentary elections are delayed, as is expected, the organization will hold Israel responsible. Reports coming out of Gaza said that the units responsible for the incendiary balloons used to set fires in Israel have begun operating again near the border, in protest over the expected delay of the election and the closure of the fishing zone.

Since 2018, Israel has used limits on the fishing zone in the Gaza Strip as a mode of collective punishment against the residents of the Strip, in a policy pushed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Fishing makes up an important part of Gaza's economy and food supply. The fishing zone is limited in response to incidents of violence, despite the fact that the fisherman have no connection to the security tensions between Israel and Gaza.

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