Gaza Today: Expanded fishing and farming, reduced movement of goods
As the ceasefire agreement begins implementation, here is the current state of movement restrictions into, out of, and within the Gaza Strip:
1. Fishing limitations eased. Residents of Gaza may now fish up to six nautical miles off the coast, higher than the three-mile limit previously in place but less than the 20-mile zone committed to in the Oslo Accords. The expansion is expected to increase the annual volume of fishing by 500-700 tons (for a total expected catch of 1,700 tons/year), which is still insufficient to meet consumption needs inside Gaza. The head of Gaza's Fishing Association estimates that if fishermen were allowed to utilize a 20-mile fishing zone, the annual catch would reach 4,000 tons. Gaza residents used to sell fish to Israel and the West Bank; now they buy fish from Israel and Egypt.
2. Buffer zone: Farmers in the buffer zone report reaching up to 100 meters of the border fence today to work their lands. It is not clear what the new conditions are. Prior to the current escalation, Israel enforced a no-go area along the border fence, 300-1,500 meters inside Gaza, comprising 35% of Gaza's arable land.
3. Incoming goods: Although the fighting ended Wednesday, Kerem Shalom is still limited to humanitarian goods only: food, animal feed, medicine, medical equipment, and materials ordered by humanitarian organizations. On Thursday, 127 truckloads entered, and today 158 truckloads were scheduled to enter. Prior to the fighting, 200-300 truckloads of commercial and humanitarian goods entered Kerem Shalom daily.
4. Outgoing goods: Prior to the fighting, Israel allowed small quantities of agricultural produce to leave Gaza for markets abroad, mostly as part of a project subsidized by the Dutch government. Since then, no outgoing goods have been permitted to cross Kerem Shalom. A shipment of basil intended for export was blocked today, and Palestinian farmers have yet to receive approval to export strawberries to Europe as planned on Tuesday.
5. Travel of persons via Erez Crossing continues to be limited. Rafah is open for usual traffic.
For the current status of the closure of Gaza click here.
For an analysis of the opportunity created by the ceasefire, including information on the volume of goods entering via the tunnels, click here.