Israel launches missile attack on Gaza, restricts fishing zone

The restrictions on the fishing zone have been criticized for being form of collective punishment which is against international human rights and also a violation of the Oslo accords

July 26, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Photo : Gisha

The Palestinian information center said that Israel fired missiles on two different locations inside the occupied Palestinian territory of Gaza late in the night on Sunday, July 25. According to the reports, the missiles did not cause any casualties. 

Israeli missiles targeted an open area in northern Gaza and Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Iranian Press Tv also reported that the Palestinian resistance movement shot down an Israeli drone over the town of Khuza’a in Khan Younis. 

The Israeli military issued a statement claiming that the attacks were carried out “in response to arson balloons launched towards Israel.” It also claimed that its target was Hamas’ military base. However, the missiles caused damage to civilian infrastructure.

This was third such attack by Israel since the ceasefire agreement on May 21 which ended the 11-day Israeli assault on the besieged Palestinian territory. Responding to the attack, Hamas called it a “failed attempt by the Zionist regime” which will never “stop our inalienable rights.”

The missile attacks came after Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a military wing which looks into the affairs of the occupied Palestinian territories, decided earlier that day to reduce Gaza’s fishing areas by half. Israel claimed that the decision was a retaliation for the incendiary balloons launched from Gaza. According to the decision, the fishing zone will be reduced from 12 nautical miles to 6 nautical miles starting Monday. 

Several human rights groups have criticized Israel’s decision to reduce the size of the fishing zone of Gaza as a form of collective punishment of an occupied population which is illegal according to the international laws. 

The Oslo Accords of 1994 allows fishing zones to stretch up to 20 nautical miles into the sea. Israel has often restricted or stopped fishing in these areas and has never complied with the Oslo Accords. Before the attacks in May this year, Israel had allowed fishing up to 15 nautical miles. During the attacks, all fishing activity was stopped. After the ceasefire deal, the zone was reopened with the promise of increasing the size. 

The Gaza strip is one of the world’s most densely populated regions with over 2 million people living in an area of around 365 square kilometers. Fishing is a major source of livelihood and food in the Gaza strip. According to the Quds news network, around 70,000 Gazans directly and indirectly make a living from fishing. 

The people living in Gaza are already facing several economic problems, including the fall of living standards, due to the comprehensive land, sea and air blockade of the region imposed by Israel since 2006. 

Israeli offensives in May killed over 260 Palestinians and injured hundreds. The Gaza Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) report published earlier this month assessed that due to the 11-day Israeli attack in May, the region saw around USD 380 million of damage. Since Israeli bombardment, almost half of the population of Gaza is living without proper electricity and water supply with increasing risk to health also due to the COVID-19 pandemic.