Al-Mina, Gaza – “It will not change anything for us,” said Palestinian fisherman Khaled al-Habil. “Since we don’t have the tools to repair and repair, most boats can’t go that far.”
Khaled was referring to the expansion of the Gaza fishery announced by COGAT, the Israeli military that oversees political activities in the occupied territories, last Wednesday.
Among other things, the fishery was upgraded to 15 nautical miles (28km). Although Oslo Alliance which was signed in the early 1990s forcing Israel to allow boats to travel 20 nautical miles (37 km), the amount allowed, until last week, was 12 nautical miles (22km).
The situation in al-Mina, Gaza’s largest port, is a clear indication of political instability. Israel has often banned Gaza fishermen from reversing Hamas decisions or protests against work. This instability affects the lives of about 4,000 fishermen, their families, and the thousands of people involved in the project.
Khaled’s family is directly affected. Khaled, 55, received a fishing job from his father when he was just 10 years old and gave birth to five sons.
“Fishing is all we know, but the job doesn’t allow us to do our job peacefully and happily,” he says.
The al-Habil family owns a trawler – a large fishing boat that can travel long distances – which has been in operation for more than two years.
According to Khaled, the trawler assisted more than 20 families, but is no longer working due to an engine problem – equipment that could not solve the problem would not be available in Gaza due to Israel-Egypt protection.
“The serious shortage of weapons and the prevention of entry into the Strip is what they are [Israeli authorities] they need to talk, ”says Khaled.
Meanwhile, al-Habil’s family has spread and work in various boats that are fellow fishermen. When asked about their aspirations, all six agree that for Gaza fishermen to succeed, it is not enough to donate nails, the siege must be completely removed.
‘Nothing will change’
For the past few weeks, Palestinians have been protesting against Israel’s disability in Gaza. In response to the housing crisis, COGAT has announced not only the expansion of the fishery, but also three alternatives.
As of last Wednesday, water to Gaza rose by another 5 million cubic meters (1.3 billion liters), the share of Gazan traders allowed to cross the Beit Hanoon cross, called Erez to Israel, by 7,000 (up from 2,000), and the crossing of Karem Abu Salem, Kerem Shalom to Israel, is fully open for weapons and supplies.
Just south of the border between Gaza and Israel, Karem Abu Salem is the main route to Gaza. Farmers, manufacturers and retailers, who employ thousands of people, rely on cross-cutting to grow their businesses. However, even with complete openness, it is Israel who decides what to cross, how much, and when.
“It seems that nothing will change because it works in the same way as before the war,” Rabeh Morrar, director of research at the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute (MAS), told Al Jazeera.
According to Morrar, the crossroads can carry up to 1,000 vehicles a day, but for now, only 300 are circling. The researcher said that as a result of the 11-day war in Gaza in May, high unemployment, the coronavirus epidemic, and the suspension of remittances from Qatar, Gaza’s economic situation was deteriorating rapidly.
“There is no money in the hands of the people to buy the things they bought before the war,” he says.
The expert also warned that weapons that are considered to be “two-dimensional” – which can be used as weapons or ammunition – are prohibited from entering the Strip. These include building materials, such as cement and iron, and other materials.
While building materials allowed inside last week, Morrar says he has gone to government agencies and foreign agencies, not the rebuilding of Gaza.
“It’s as if Israel is telling Hamas: ‘Well, we don’t need war’, but this area does not bring real development,” Morrar said.
Ca lot of work in Israel
To obtain a “trade name”, one must register with the Gaza District Chamber of Commerce, Trade, Industry and Agriculture in Palestine. One has to have a small market, business or relationship that supports the project.
Special permission is granted if a trader wants to work in Israel. This type of registration is changed every six months.
“‘Merchants’ licensed in Israel [to pass the Karem Abu Salem crossing] they are not real sellers, most of whom are construction and agricultural workers, ”says Morrar.
The expert says the increase in the number of traders allowed to move around is important for the economy, but it is not enough. According to him, Israel should allow at least 50,000 workers to make a difference in Gaza’s economy.
“Israel knows that [people are not always merchants], but because of such permits, they do not pay for corporate security, compensation, insurance, and much more, ”explains Morrar. “It is difficult but there is no cure for the people in Gaza.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has set 100 liters as a minimum requirement for drinking water daily. The money should cover basic needs, such as drinking, bathing, cooking, and cleaning.
In Gaza, every day a person uses only 25 gallons[88 L]; in Israel, on average, is more than 200 liters. Only 10% of Gaza’s water comes from Israel. However, operations and blockade have significant implications water problem in the Line.
To address the shortage, some secret wells are operating in Gaza, but most are undocumented. Vendors lower the water supply and sell it to families, however, two-thirds of this water is already contaminated once it is delivered.
And the cost is very high. The private market holds 30 shekels ($ 9) per cubic meter of water. On an urban network, it costs only 1-2 shekels per cubic meter.
Gaza receives some relief with another 5 million cubic meters, but like all other methods, it has to be the answer.