The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on Sunday that “The Israeli authorities further restricted the access of Gaza’s fishermen to three nautical miles from the shore.
This is a reduction from the six nautical miles imposed between the time the blockade was imposed on Gaza in June 2007 and the start of “Cast Lead” on 27 December.
It is a significant reduction from the 12 nautical miles Israel committed to under the Bertini Commitments in 2002. [n.b. OCHA’s website indicates that it is apparently not even bothering to issue any further reports on compliance with the Bertini Commitments.]
This reduction raises concerns over the upcoming fishing season, which reaches its annual peak in mid-April.
OCHA reported that “In three separate incidents (4, 6 and 10 March), Israeli patrol boats fired towards Palestinian fishing boats, forcing the boats to return to shore”.
This report can be read in full here.
There is an agreed map that is part of the Oslo Accords that allocates an area of 20 square nautical miles out to see from the Gaza coastline as a zone of Palestinian fishing (and later, economic activities) — it was signed by the then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and witnessed by then-U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and then-Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev.