GAZA STRIP (17 September 2008) - An Italian human rights worker with the
Free Gaza Movement and International Solidarity Movement was injured today
by the Israeli navy while monitoring human rights abuses against
Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip.
Vittorio Arrigoni was hit by flying glass when the Israeli navy used a
high-power water cannon against the unarmed boats. The water canon smashed
the glass surrounding the steering section of the boat, with shards
lacerating Arrigoni's back. He was taken to hospital immediately upon
reaching shore, requiring stitches.
The Israeli navy has imposed severe restrictions on fishing in Gazan
waters, regularly attacking any boats attempting to fish over 3 nautical
miles. With international accompaniment, fishermen have been attempting to
fish their own waters, outside of Israeli imposed limits.
40,000 people in Gaza make a living from the fishing industry, a community
that has been decimated both by violent Israeli attacks on unarmed
fishermen, as well as through the general blockade of fuel and other
needed supplies. According to the Fishing Syndicate in Gaza, fishermen
litres of fuel and 40,000 litres of natural gas each day to operate
throughout the high fishing season.
In the last year, over 70 fishermen have been arrested by Israeli forces
for fishing in their own waters. At least 14 unarmed fishermen have been
killed since 2000.
To view video of Israeli forces opening fire on unarmed fishing boats (1