The fishermen were forced at gunpoint to strip naked and swim from their boats to the Israeli warships. After being taken to Ashdod they were all released within 24 hours. The Israeli Navy have however impounded all of their boats - 7 in total.
It is unclear what the Israeli military regard as the official “forbidden” area. There are no official channels of communication open between the Israeli Navy and the fishermen from Gaza. All the information regarding this that the fishermen have is delivered at gunpoint, and is inconsistent with the actions of the gunboat crews. Experience informs the fishermen that at any moment any portion of Gaza’s territorial waters can be deemed “prohibited” by the gunboat crews, no matter how close to shore, and irrespective of what the gunboat commanders have previously decreed (the status of these decrees as both arbitrary and illegal in the context of international law should also be noted).
This uncertainty is further compounded by what the fishermen say are unusually high levels of aggression by the gunboats. On the 17th March 2009 a gunboat crew shot Deeb Alankah, in the arm and the back. He was less than 200m from shore near Beit Lahia, and says that no warning was given to him nor demand made before he was shot. Other fishermen confirm that typically when the Israeli gun boats begin shooting at them, they now do so without warning.
Israel is refusing to return the 7 fishing boats - the sole means of income for fishermen already greatly impoverished by the siege on the Gaza Strip.Read more
Taking in the above, let's hope that this report is true, Economic Boycott of Israel Works: 21% of Israeli Exporters Affected and that boycotts are having some effect. I guess with foreign aid guaranteed, it might not make too much difference. __________________________________________________________________
Palestinian authorities have seen to the disbanding of a Palestinian Youth Orchestra who played for Holocaust survivors in Israel. A spokesperson said:
"The Holocaust happened, but we are facing a similar massacre by the Jews themselves," Hindi said. "We lost our land, and we were forced to flee and we've lived in refugee camps for the past 50 years."It seems that no-one was in the know, except for their teacher and the charity which organised the performance. Too sad, especially considering the Ni'lin paid tribute to the Jewish victims of the in February by holding a well-attended exhibition.