Israel expands fishing zone from three to six nautical miles

Fishermen in Gaza. Photo: Eman MohammedMay 21, 2013. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon approved an expansion of the fishing zone off the coast of the Gaza Strip from three to six nautical miles. According to a statement by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the fishing zone was restricted “due to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip toward Southern Israel on March 21, 2013”.

The statement does not explain why the fishing zone was restricted in response to rocket fire or how it helps reduce such rocket fire. Gisha has noted that the restrictions on fishing as well as other access restrictions would appear to be used punitively against the population of the Strip in response to rocket fire and in contravention of international law.

Following the end of Operation Pillar of Defense on November 22, 2012, Israel approved an expansion of the fishing zone from three to six nautical miles, which it then reversed on March 21, 2013 following rocket fire from Gaza toward Israeli territory.

See the following position paper for more information on access restrictions following the military operation:  Creeping Punishment.