Mahfouz Kabariti sits inside his former fishing boat, which he's converting into a tour boat. The Israeli naval blockade made it impossible for him to earn a profit.
Dozens of Gazan fishermen went to retrieve boats this week that had been confiscated by the Israeli Navy over the last 18 months. Their excitement quickly turned to sorrow as they found empty boat shells stripped of all equipment and supplies. According to an August 4 press release from Adalah and Al-Meezan Center for Human Rights, Israel also charged the fishermen with the transportation costs of confiscation. The fishermen refused to take their boats, and returned home without them.
This all-too-common incident highlights the economic and humanitarian cost of the Israeli naval blockade, which aims to protect Israel from terrorist attacks and has put most of Gaza's fishermen out of business. The coastal enclave now gets more fish from Egyptian smuggling tunnels than from Gaza's once thriving fishing industry.
When I visited Gaza this past July, I met with a former Gazan fisherman named Mahfouz Kabariti. Unable to reach the large fish catches that can be found beyond the three nautical mile limit, he decided to turn his fishing boat into a tour boat. He hopes his new business will bring joy and a sense of normalcy to Gaza's traumatized civilians. Here is Mahfouz, in his own words:
The Plight of Gazan Fishermen from Tikkun on Vimeo.
Ashley Bates is an Assistant Editor at Tikkun. More information about her and links to her published articles can be found on her website: www.ashleyebates.com. Click here to follow Ashley on Twitter.To read more pieces like this, sign up for Tikkun Daily’s free newsletter, sign up for Tikkun Magazine emails or visit us online. You can also like Tikkunon Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
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