Israel eases restrictions on Gaza, expands fishing zone

In an effort to ease hardships for Gazan fishermen, Israel is expanding the area within which they can cast nets, make bigger catches and thus generate more income.

The IDF’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced Thursday that it is easing restrictions on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and expanding the permitted fishing area during the major fishing seasons.

COGAT, the unit responsible for implementing government policy in Judea and Samaria and vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip, said this move will lead to an annual increase of approximately NIS 1 Million in profit for Gaza’s fishermen.

Israel has extended Gaza’s fishing zone several times to ease the lives of Gaza fishermen.

COGAT’s extension of Gaza’s fishing zone this past April lead to commercial revenue increases of 15% for the fishermen. This scope of increase in revenues can be expected again in the upcoming expansion planned for the fall fishing season.

The measure is contingent on the fishermen not abusing the relief with smuggling or infiltration attempts, COGAT cautioned.

Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas seized power in 2007. Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent arms from reaching the Islamic terror group, which has fought three wars against Israel since it took over the Gaza Strip.

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Israel has thwarted several attempts to smuggle arms from Egypt to Gaza by sea, taking advantage of the relief given by Israel to the Gazan fishermen.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News