Movement through Gaza’s crossings still severely limited; “Fishing zone” now restored to previous demarcation

The fishing port in Gaza, 2016. Photo by Gisha

November 14, 2019. According to media reports, a ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Islamic Jihad organization went into effect early this morning. Since Monday night, an Israeli military attack on Gaza has resulted in the death of more than 30 people in the Strip, including three children; rockets and mortar shells launched from the Strip toward Israel injured dozens of Israelis.

Despite the reported ceasefire, Kerem Shalom Crossing remains closed today for exit and entrance of goods to and from the Strip, other than for entrance of fuel destined for Gaza’s power plant, and cooking gas. Every day in which Gaza’s sole commercial crossing is closed leads to significant financial losses, especially for farmers and suppliers of agricultural produce from the Strip.

Erez Crossing also remains closed today, other than for exit of cancer patients seeking treatment that is unavailable in the Strip, Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, and foreign passport holders, providing they coordinated their exit in advance. Residents of Gaza, foreign nationals and Israeli citizens holding permits were allowed to enter the Strip, subject to prior coordination. This is the third consecutive day in which Israel has imposed restrictions on movement through Gaza’s crossings to an even greater extent than usual.

The fishermen’s union in Gaza was notified that as of 13:45 this afternoon, the “fishing zone” has been restored according to its previous demarcation. Access to the sea is now permitted up to a distance of 6 nautical miles to the north of Wadi Gaza, and up to 15 nautical miles in a southern section of the zone.

Since Tuesday morning and until this afternoon, Israel had been further restricting access to the “fishing zone” it enforces in Gaza’s territorial waters: In the south of the Strip, fishing was limited up to a distance of six nautical miles. North of the fishing port, access to sea was banned altogether.

Gisha emphasizes that deliberate or indiscriminate fire on civilian population centers is a breach of international law, as is the implementation of collective punishment. Israel has an obligation to allow the continued provision of necessities to residents of Gaza and to protect their fundamental right to freedom of movement.