Website policy

We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.


BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine

JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011




Shrinkage and pollution of Gaza’s fishing waters force fish-farming

Siege and lethal Israeli sea restrictions force aquaculture

Sheik Rajleen, Gaza

By Eva Bartlett

“Farmed fish are now better than sea fish in Gaza. They shouldn’t be, but because of the sewage in Gaza’s sea and the Israeli fishing restrictions, farmed fish are cleaner and healthier than sea fish.”

Sohail Ekhail has a point. The 38-year-old marine engineer and sea captain is one of the pioneers of the aquaculture industry in Gaza. Coming from a scientific background, he speaks of the current advantages of aquaculture in the Strip.

“It is almost impossible for our fishermen to fish in the sea, so fish farms provide another source of salt water fish.”
Compared to the late 1990s, before the Israeli-led siege choking Gaza since Hamas’s election in 2006, fishermen’s catches are meagre, from a former over 3,500 tons per year to the current less than 500 tons a year. Fishermen, forced by Israeli gunfire to fish within less than three miles, at the same time deplete future stocks of fish.

And, as Ekhail said, the fish caught are polluted, swimming in the sewage that is daily pumped into Gaza’s sea for want of treatment facilities.

“Anyway Gaza is already importing frozen fish from Egypt via the tunnels,” Ekhail points out. There is a growing need for edible fish.
His six pools contain hundreds of maturing fish, a process which takes around eight to 10 months. “But with the power cuts, its taking longer than 10 months,” he says.

Large, electricity powered water wheels spin over the surface of each pool, oxygenating the salt water pumped from underground, and emptied twice a day into the sea.

Among three varieties of fish, the red and silver tilapia are the most popular and his cheapest, at 25 shekels (eight dollars) per kilo. But this is a price the vast majority rendered aid-dependent in Gaza cannot afford.

“We sell mainly to restaurants,” he says, though some families with the means to do so buy from the farm. The Ekhail fish farm has problems other than the power outages. “Customers buy frozen fish from Egypt instead of ours, because it’s cheaper,” he says. “And the pellets we feed the fish come from Israel. They are often delayed.”

The greatest problem was the complete destruction of the Ekhail fish farm during the 2008-2009 Israeli war on Gaza. “It was bulldozed, everything destroyed.” Rebuilt on its rented plot of land, the fish farm is just five minutes by car outside Gaza city. Sea waves crash 50 metres beyond the tent-shaded pools, the paradox of Gaza’s off-limits sea audible and visible.

The region has a history of dependency on the rich catches of the sea, something reflected in the fish- based meals traditional to Gaza and the legacy of fishermen in trawlers, speedboats, and hand-paddled boats the size of a canoe.

The development of aquaculture reflects the continued ingenuity of Palestinians in Gaza, determined to create sources of employment and food in the face of the ruthless, internationally backed Israeli siege on Gaza.

But the rise of aquaculture also reflects the continued international apathy to the plight of Gaza’s roughly 4,000 fishermen who, on a dailybasis, are shot at, shelled at, water-cannoned with an excrement-scented chemical, and abducted by the Israeli navy from within Palestinian waters.

The 20 nautical miles accorded to Palestinians under Oslo are now an Israeli-reduced less than three miles fishing limit. Many fishermen have been killed or seriously injured while fishing in waters within the Israeli-decreed limits. Hundreds are abducted from Palestinian waters by the Israeli navy every year, an attempt to discourage fishermen from plying their trade.

Aside from the human toll of the Israeli fishing restrictions, there is an economic toll very real to the 65,000 people that the World Food Project (WFP) says are directly affected by the fishing limitations. And there are the 80 percent of food-aid dependent Palestinians in Gaza for whom fish were a source of nutrition sporadically afforded.

With current catches inadequate and much of the available fish farmed or imported, most families can no longer afford the luxury of the protein fish provides.  While aid organisations like WFP and others encourage fish farming in Gaza to provide an alternative source of nutrition to the 1.6 million residents of the Strip, aquaculture is an inadequate temporary fix, not a solution.

It is a fix that, intentionally or not, works in tandem with the Israeli-led siege on Gaza: to deprive Palestinians of their self-sufficiency and their fishing skills passed on through the generations. And it is a fix that does not address the roots of the problem: the siege and the Israeli navy’s lethal games in Palestinian waters, both combined to render Palestinians in Gaza dependent on hand-outs.

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.