GAZA, May 23 (Reuters) - Israeli gunboats and an Egyptian clampdown on fuel smuggling into the Gaza Strip are strangling the Palestinian enclave's little fishing fleet, slowly turning a generation of fishermen into fishmongers.
Since 2009, they have been unable to sail out beyond three miles because of Israel's strictly enforced blockade. This year they can hardly afford to go out at all because diesel has nearly tripled in price.
There are about 3,700 full-time fishermen in the Gaza Strip ready to serve a market of 1.7 million Palestinians. They used to export to Israel. Now Gaza imports about 80 percent of its needs from the Egyptians and the Israelis.
"Once we made enough to let us give away fish to the poor and needy people. These days we are begging for aid," said Mahmoud Al-Assi, 66, a fisherman most of his life and currently the chairman of Gaza's non-profit Fishermens' Society, which supports boat owners with tools, ice and fuel.
"Just like the fish, we will die if we're out of the water for too long," said Al-Assi. more
Turkey has issued arrest warrants for four former senior Israel Defense Forces officers and plans to indict them over the deaths of nine Turkish nationals during a botched raid on a Turkish-sponsored flotilla to Gaza in 2010.
The officers in question are former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, former commander of the navy Eliezer Marom, and former head of air force intelligence Avishai Levi. The four are accused of giving the orders for the raid on the Mavi Marmara, in which nine Turks were killed after passengers brutally assaulted the naval commandos who boarded the ship.
According to the Turkish newspaper Sabah, the officers will be arrested if they ever set foot in Turkey.
Local experts in international law noted that Turkey could ask Interpol to issue a so-called "red notice" for the four, in which case they would be liable to be arrested any time they visited any country that is a member of Interpol. more