Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza and human rights organizations in Israel, Adalah and Gisha, express grave concern and strong protest over Israel’s decision yesterday to implement a full maritime closure in Gaza’s territorial waters. This is the third time this year that Israel has outright denied fishermen’s access to the sea.

Since the beginning of 2019 alone, Israel has changed the demarcation of the “fishing zone” off Gaza’s coast no less than 15 times. Israel often enforces its restrictions in the fishing zone using live fire and by seizing boats and fishing equipment, harming lives and the livelihoods of thousands of fishermen and their families, as well as impacting Gaza’s economy as a whole.

The sanctions imposed by Israel in Gaza’s fishing zone in response to actions over which fishermen in Gaza have no control constitute illegal collective punishment, and must end immediately.