News ID: 253238
Published: 1000 GMT May 23, 2019

Israel shrinks Gaza fishing zone only one day after expanding it

Israel shrinks Gaza fishing zone only one day after expanding it

Israel has cut the offshore fishing restriction it imposes for vessels off the Gaza shore after an alleged launch of incendiary balloons from the blockaded coastal sliver towards the occupied territories.

In a statement released on Thursday, the so-called Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a unit in Israel’s ministry of military affairs that oversees civil matters in the Palestinian lands, said that Gaza’s permitted fishing zone had been reduced from 15 nautical miles to 10 and that the limit would be upheld “until further notice”, reported.

“A decision was taken this Wednesday evening to reduce the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip to 10 nautical miles until further notice,” it said. “The decision was taken after the launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza.”

The announcement came one day after Israel expanded the fishing zone to 15 nautical miles from 12 in what is presumed to be part of a ceasefire between the Tel Aviv regime and the Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement.

On Monday, Israel’s Channel 12 news reported that the regime and Hamas have reached an agreement for a six-month truce in Gaza.

According to the report, the agreement includes a Hamas obligation to end clashes with Israeli forces along the Gaza fence, maintain a buffer zone of 300 meters, abandon launching incendiary balloons towards occupied territories and stop flotillas trying to break the Gaza siege.

In return, the report added, Israel expanded the Gaza fishing zone and agreed to enable UN cash-for-work programs, allow medicine and other civil aid to enter the coastal enclave and open talks on issues such as electricity, crossings, healthcare and funds.

However, both Israel and Hamas denied reports of a Gaza ceasefire understanding.

Flying fiery kites and balloons has become a new mode of protests by Gazans since last March, when the regime in Israel launched a bloody crackdown against anti-occupation demonstrations near the fence separating Gaza from the Israeli-occupied land.

Since March 2018, 

It has also witnessed tensions since March 30, 2018 which marked the start of the Return protests, with participants demanding the right to return for those driven out of their homeland. The violence has so far left at least 305 Palestinians dead and more than 17,000 others wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

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