ACTNews, GAZA – The coast of western Gaza has been busy preparing materials for the fishing boat construction. Wood began to be collected to be made into fishing boats.
“This area is a location used by carpenters, technicians, and shipbuilders to build, repair, or reconstruct ships and boats. Also, it is the place to build waqf fishing boats for Palestinian fishermen who have difficulty going to sea,” said Jommah Alnajjar from Aksi Cepat Tanggap, Tuesday (6/14/2021). The boat from generous benefactors has a capacity of 80 to 100 gross tons.
Apart from the coast of western Gaza, in the Tofah region, a metal-based waqf fishing boat is also being prepared. This boat is bigger than the wooden ones. This boat has a capacity of 150 gross tons. Some materials such as metal and glass will be imported from outside Palestine, so manufacturing is expected to take two months.
Despite the different materials, each of these boats is targeted to empower around 15 fishing families in Palestine. "This ship will help Palestinians fishermen to provide income for their families, and provide fish for the Palestinian market in the Gaza Strip," said Jommah.
Jommah hopes these boats can help fishermen in Gaza who are still having problems going to sea. "This project will have a positive impact on Gazans, especially fishermen, especially to increase their income," Jommah said.
The life of Gazan fishermen is in dire conditions. Israeli occupation forces attacked Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip on at least 320 occasions in 2020, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) has reported. The Gaza-based union said the Israeli Navy used heavy machine guns, shells, and water cannons to harass Palestinian fishing boats and their crews. They also limited Palestinian access to Gaza's territorial waters, restricting them to fishing just three miles offshore.
“Israel's closure of Gaza's fishing area has increased the suffering of Palestinian fishermen, with up to 90 percent of them live under the poverty line,” said Zakaria Bakr, head of the Fishermen Union Committees, quoted by Middle East Monitor.