Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Out fishing in Gaza!

After a long and hard trip to Gaza, international activists who sailed there from Cyprus plan to return, taking with them a few stranded Palestinian Fulbright scholars. In Gaza, they delivered hearing aids to a charity-Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children (one which I absolutely love for their handicrafts, made by deaf men and women which you can purchase online).

But before doing so, they accompanied Palestinian fisherman yesterday morning to help them break the maritime siege on their fishing boats. The Oslo Accords were supposed to "grant them" (a natural right, but they decided it should be bestowed nonetheless) the right to fish 20 nautical miles into see. In reality, this has translated to no more than 12 in the best of times, 4 at the height of the second Intifada based on my interviewees with fishermen; and 6 in the past few years.

Their fishing vessels are frequently shot at by the israeli navy, the fishermen themselves harassed, thrown into the water, beaten, detained, and in many cases killed, rendering their once bustling profession and mainstay of the Gazan economy one of its most dangerous jobs.

The hope was that accompanied by international activists and a swarm of media alongside them, the Israeli naval boats would lay off; and despite circling them from afar with their enormous guns pointing towards them, they did.

My father accompanied one of the fishing vessels to aid in translation and protection. Initially, the fisherman were afraid to leave for fear of being shot at by the Israelis, as they frequently are. Slowly , they decided to attempt to surpass the nautical mile limit imposed on them by the Israelis.

And they did.

The fishermen told him it was their most successful catch in four years!

My parents aboard a Palestinian fishing vessel


Blogger @bdul muHib said...

I could well imagine. After so long not significantly fishing further out from Gaza, the fishery stocks must have substantially increased now, so they can obtain a good deal more when they do go out.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Kate said...

Longtime lurker here, just wanted to say that it's wonderful to see good news!

8:37 PM  
Anonymous The Girl Detective said...

That's awesome.

4:53 AM  
Blogger Miss Froy said...

After doing some worrying for friends and aquaintances...it's so lovely to hear these reports of people making a difference and taking control of their own lives. Love the photo of your parents!!!

11:40 PM  
Blogger Daisy said...

Hi Laila,
I was one of the Free Gaza passengers who went out on a fishing boat that day. Maybe I met your father. What's his name?

10:49 AM  
Blogger Daisy said...

Ooops.... I just saw the photo, and of course I know your parents. I had lunch at their apartment, and your Mom took me shopping for Palestinian embroidery. Please say hi to her and give her my love.

10:51 AM  

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