Israel expands Gaza fishing zone, allows more imports

by AFP

Israel said Monday it had expanded the fishing zone off Gaza and would allow additional imports into the blockaded Palestinian territory following “recent security calm”.

The Jewish state regularly restricts fishing and imports for Gazans in response to unrest, including during an 11-day conflict in May that saw Israel launch hundreds of air strikes on the enclave and its Islamist rulers Hamas fire thousands of rockets at Israel. 

“In light of the recent security calm … the fishing zone in the Gaza Strip will be extended from 9 to 12 nautical miles,” said a statement from the Israeli military branch responsible for civil affairs in the Palestinian territories (COGAT). 

The statement added that imports of medical equipment, fishing supplies, certain industrial materials and textiles will also be allowed into Gaza. 

Gazan agricultural products and textiles have been cleared for export, COGAT said, noting the new measures are contingent on “the continued preservation of security stability”.

There has been sporadic unrest since a ceasefire ended the May conflict, with incendiary balloons launched from Gaza and Israeli reprisal air strikes, but no casualties have been reported.

Israel has maintained a blockade on Gaza since 2007, the year Hamas took power in the strip.