Israel has introduced tighter restrictions on the Gaza Strip impacting the lives of the civilian population as a whole and the livelihoods of Palestinian fishers in particular. Starting from Wednesday, 12 August 2020, Israel reduced the fishing zone from 15 nautical miles off the coast of Gaza to eight nautical miles. The Israeli navy consequently opened fire at Palestinian fishers and pursued their boats later that evening while ordering the fishermen via megaphones to retreat to the recently sanctioned fishing zone.
The following morning, 13 August 2020, the Israeli authorities imposed a complete ban on the entry of fuel into the Gaza Strip via Kerem Shalom Crossing—Gaza’s only operational commercial crossing with Israel—despite an earlier decision posted online by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) on Monday exempting fuel supplies and essential humanitarian goods from the ban, set to be enforced starting from Tuesday, 11 August 2020.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights stresses that humanitarian needs must not be politicized or exploited especially since Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are going through unprecedented socioeconomic crises that have gone unattended despite the UN’s warning against an uninhabitable Gaza by 2020 should Israel fail to lift its illegal closure.
Al Mezan strongly condemns the unlawful Israeli closure on the Gaza Strip and collective punitive policies against Palestinians, amidst chronic impunity emboldened by the international community’s inaction. Al Mezan further warns of an imminent catastrophe if the socioeconomic situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate, and reiterates its calls on the international community to ensure the respect of international law, and to exert pressure on Israel, the occupying power, to lift the blockade and closure.