- Title: 'Double lockdown': COVID-19 adds to blockaded Gaza's despair
- Date: 28th August 2020
- Summary: GAZA CITY, GAZA (AUGUST 28, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF BOATS DOCKED AT PORT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HEAD OF THE FISHERMEN'S ASSOCIATION, ZAKARIA BAKER, SAYING: "With the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the occupation changed its tactics in how to punish fishermen. Now they (Israeli forces) are targeting the motors directly to destroy us and they (Israeli authorities) don't allow us to bring motors into Gaza. They are also destroying our nets inside the sea." SUN OVER GAZA'S SHORE VARIOUS OF FISHERMEN ARRANGING THEIR NETS AT SEASIDE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FISHERMAN FROM GAZA, AHMED ZEIDAN, 28, SAYING: "Jews (Israelis) will not be able to close the sea for us. Now the sea is closed but we are taking the risk to go in swimming with light tools to fish crab from the sea. The coronavirus pandemic arrived in Gaza and all is closed now but we will continue to work until we die. It is true and it is affecting us very much but this crab gives energy to people and it keeps the virus away from us." VARIOUS OF EMPTY BEACH VARIOUS OF POLICEMEN AT CHECKPOINT, WEARING MASKS, CHECKING VEHICLES POLICEMEN CHECKING NEIGHBORHOOD, ASKING MAN TO GO INTO HIS HOME
- Embargoed: 11th September 2020 13:55
- Keywords: Gaza Israel blockade coronavirus fishermen
- Location: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- City: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA003CT5Y62V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: On a deserted beachfront in a newly locked-down Gaza, fishermen look impotently at the Mediterranean waters they can no longer access under two separate bans - one by Israel and the other by Hamas police imposing COVID-19 restrictions.
In a narrow coastal enclave that is home to 2 million Palestinians, the 40 km coastline in normal times provides an important food source and employment for 4,000 fishermen.
But old politics and new pandemic combined to leave the territory's fish markets virtually empty on Friday (August 28), when they would usually be packed on the busiest day of the week with Palestinians buying fresh sea bream and sardines.
The enforced fishing layoff began on August 16 when Israel tightened its long-standing blockade of Gaza, grounding boats after an increase in incendiary balloons flown from Gaza into Israel by supporters of militant groups in what Israel deemed a "continued violation of security stability".
Fisherman Sakher Miqdad says his industry now faces a "double lockdown".
Humanitarian organisations fear COVID-19 could be devastating on densely packed Gaza, whose isolation so far spared it from the worst of the pandemic.
According to the World Food Programme, even before the virus more than two thirds of Gazans were "food insecure", citing the blockade as a key factor.
But Israel says the restrictions on Gaza imposed by itself and Egypt are because of the security threat posed by Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization.
Compounding the concerns, Gaza health authorities now fear the virus may have entered before Monday's first reported case in the general population.
He said the Gaza health authorities thought the virus entered Gaza "maybe in early August," but said that was so far an assumption "which I don't want to confirm or to dismiss."
(Production: Roleen Tafakji, Mohammed Shanna, Abed Shanna, Mohammed Salem)
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