April 2: Down to the sea

and yet Gaza fishermen are injured and killed trying to do so...

and yet Gaza fishermen are injured and killed trying to do so...

On Thursday we joined Gaza fishermen in their demonstration against the increase in Israeli violence against fishermen and the ongoing theft of their boats. An Israeli gunboat appeared three miles out, but didn’t open fire at us on the beach, as they sometimes do. The report that follows was originally posted at the ISM website, and the photos are mine. The following day, it was business as usual – “April 3: Fisherman injured, three boats damaged by Israeli fire”

Gazan Fishermen protest against Israeli Navy Attacks

On the 2nd of April, dozens of fishermen from the Salateen area in Beit Lahiya in the far north of Gaza, staged a march towards the coast to protest against recent Israeli naval attacks. The demonstrators were joined by the Director of the General Syndicate of Marine Fishers, Nizar Ayash, as well as Palestinian activists from the Beit Hanoun Local Initiative. The demonstration was supported by volunteers from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), amongst them two international activists abducted by Israeli naval forces last November.

the inevitable destroyed building in the background...

the inevitable destroyed building in the background...

The Israeli navy has intensely escalated its attacks against Gazan fishermen since the recent onslaught on the Gaza Strip. In just the past three weeks, at least two fishermen have been injured by gunfire, 16 have been abducted (some of them tortured and later released) and seven fishing boats have been stolen without being returned. Several other boats have also reportedly been damaged by Israeli gunfire. Most of the fishermen are from the Salateen area, some of whom now face bleak situations – in the wake of losing their homes during Israeli bombing raids, they have now lost their sole means of income in an area already greatly impoverished by the continued Israeli siege on Gaza.

'Be aware of possible attack from Israeli gunboats' we were told

'Be aware of possible attack from Israeli gunboats' we were told

Red Crescent vehicle on standby

Red Crescent vehicle on standby

A weatherbeaten smile

A weatherbeaten smile

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Seven small boats have recently been stolen by Israel

Seven small boats have recently been stolen by Israel

You could put this address in your email signature...

You could put this address in your email signature...

Who will be the next young fishermen injured?

Who will be the next young fishermen injured?

It wouldn't be a demo without some traditional singing

It wouldn't be a demo without some traditional singing

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3 Responses to April 2: Down to the sea

  1. LFB says:

    No answer yet to appeal to farming organisations, but have written again personal letters to Chairmen; and have also given this information to fishing organisations and individual fishing communities in Scotland to see what can be done. It is a tricky time when people feel so threatened by the financial downturn, that looking outwards becomes harder… but we really do keep trying with friendly persistence to reach the people who WILL help. Thank you so very much for being a voice in the wilderness: we have learn from you what could not be learnt elsewhere, and trust you as the Palestinians clearly do, to give the story as it is. We also pray for you, for your safe return [whichever direction that ‘return’ is ultimately]. How wise to return overland, for all your reasons but also as a means of disengaging slowly: some things can’t be changed, and you’ll carry them with you, but time truly does heal, not remove but blur – and the pain and shock and grief of all you have experienced can be turned into something that is good and lasting.. of that I’m sure, because your voice on this blog is so consistent in avoiding bitterness or anger or despair. Yours is the voice that can stir people into action: into understanding: interviews, and speaking publically, articles, maybe a book, can you get a publicist? pro bono if possible.. it needs that extra element of professional ‘push’ to let your voice be heard most widely and most quickly while it is all immediate.

  2. Timo says:

    The Israelis dont feel secure and have’nt since their founding in 1948. A person, or people who do not feel secure will act in a certain way, this is truth for all humans no matter where they come from. It never changes no matter what whether it is 2010 or the year 10 a.d.
    When all Arabs willingly renounce Israel’s destruction, accept them as neighbours and open their hearts to the idea of a neighbour who does not share their religous beliefs, then the Israelis will, finally, begin to relax, but do not expect it to happen overnight, as the last 100 years or so have’nt been a walk in the park for them. The Arabs, and they alone, hold the key to long-lasting peace. When the Arabs put down the sword, so too will the Israelis.

    • talestotell says:

      There are many things I could comment in reply to this, but I might just make a linguistic one. If you are talking about Israelis and Israel, it makes sense to talk about Palestinians and Palestine! It makes as little sense to generalise about “all Arabs” as if they were an homogenous body, as it would to generalise about “all Jews” – ie no sense at all. On the other hand, if you’re deliberately ignoring the existence of Palestine and Palestinians, that’s not an encouraging start to aiming for the security both communities so desperately need!

      Actually I will say something else.

      Before the injustice of the Occupation, before the violent creation of Israel on top of a people already there, both communities did live side by side over many centuries, in the same way that Christians and Muslims live side by side in Palestine now. Unfortunately the creation of Israel did not aim to return to that tradition. However, many of my most inspiring West Bank experiences have involved watching Palestinians open their hearts to their Israeli neighbours (who have ignored the Israeli laws that try to keep Israelis from going into the West Bank, I imagine largely to prevent this kind of relationship being created) and watching Israelis respond with the same open hearts. As a slogan I like says “those who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of those doing it.”

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