European activists launch boat to monitor Israeli violations in Gaza waters 21Apr11 April 22, 2011

The Palestinian Information Centre -  21 April 2011

European activists from Civil Peace Service Gaza (CPSGAZA) launched Wednesday a boat named Oliva designed to monitor Israeli human rights violations on Palestinian waters off the Gaza Strip.

The move also comes to commemorate the life of slain Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni, one of the dozens of parties that supported the boat.

The mission was launched after Israel reduced the fishing space in the sea from twenty nautical miles, as agreed upon in the Oslo Accords, to just three. Gaza fishermen have therefore become threatened by frequent Israeli fire and boat confiscation. Many of them have been arrested and suffered poverty because of the reduction of fishing space.

The launch of the monitoring boat was announced at the opening of the sixth Bil’in conference in Ramallah by its organizers during a video conference.

It includes activists from Spain, the US, Italy, and Belgium as well as Gaza fisherman. Their mission is to document human rights violations by gathering information and taking video footage to be handed over to the media.

Arrigoni, who was recently slain by a deviant religious group in the Gaza Strip, was one of the parties that supported the project. He also helped choose the name Oliva, expressing his desire not to name it after one of the Gaza martyrs. The name is Italian for ”olive”.

According to statistics from the Red Cross, 90 per cent of Gaza’s 4,000 fishermen are poor with an average monthly income of $100-190 or live below the poverty line, earning less than $100 a month. The average was at 50 per cent in 2008 but rose dramatically in the last three years.

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