Israel sentences Palestinian fisherman to three years in prison

“Israel’s blockade pushes Gazans into a cycle of selling equipment and material to Hamas, then getting punished accordingly.

A fisherman from Gaza was jailed on Wedmesday by an Israeli court for transferring diving equipment to Hamas.

He was sentenced at the Be’er Sheva District Court to a total of 40 months in prison for providing Hamas with diving equipment. 

The fact that the fisherman had provided Hamas with the equipment out of economic desperation, rather than being affiliated with the organisation, was taken into consideration by the court when sentencing him.

The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has lasted for more than ten years has left nearly 80 percent of Gaza residents dependent on aid, living in a region with one of the world’s highest unemployment rates.

It has also largely halted Gazans ability to fish, with the Israeli blockade limiting Gazans to a narrow fishing zone along the shallows of the coast, where fish breed — thus damaging fishing stocks in the longer term and making the industry less sustainable.

Many Gazans fall into a cycle of selling equipment and material to Hamas, then getting punished accordingly — usually facing prison in Israel.

Palestinian prisoners are currently undertaking hunger-strikes to protest the sub-human conditions they are forced to endure in Israeli prisons.

More than 1,600 prisoners took part in a hunger strike that began on 17 April, ingesting only water and salt. By the beginning of May.

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently being detained by Israel for a range of offences and alleged crimes. Around 500 are held under administrative detention, which allows imprisonment without charge or trial. 

Palestinian prisoners have mounted repeated hunger strikes, however this most recent strike is reportedly the largest such protest in several years.

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The New Arab

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