Israel attacks fishers amid a famine

Israel often opens fire on fishers. 

Khaled Daoud APA images

Khaled Zayed assured his daughters that he would not venture far when he went to sea on 3 June.

“Beware of the Israeli boat,” Rahaf, 10, told him.

Khaled had promised Rahaf and her sister Layan, 9, that he would bring them home fish for lunch.

After Khaled and his brother sailed out, the two girls spent a couple of hours at the beach in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza.

“I am very hungry,” Rahaf said to her sister. “I will eat three big fish.”

Suddenly, the sound of gunfire could be heard. Israel’s navy had attacked Palestinian fishers.

The girls looked toward the sea. There was no sign of their father’s boat.

Soon afterwards, they saw some fishers they did not know arrive on the shore. The fishers were carrying two wounded men: Khaled and his brother.

The two men were brought to al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital. It was too late: Khaled died from his injuries.

His brother survived.

Rahaf cannot comprehend what happened.

Her family had moved to Deir al-Balah after fleeing their home in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza. Rahaf pointed out that Deir al-Balah had been designated as “safe” by Israel.

“So why was my father killed?” she asked.

She pointed out that her father and uncle had stayed close to the shore as they were aware of the threat posed by the Israeli navy.

“But these [Israeli] boats did not have mercy on them,” she said.

“My father was only fishing,” she added. “He was only trying to make us happy.”

At least 12 fishers have been killed by Israel during the current war.

Khaled Zayed was the sole breadwinner of his family, who are living in a small tent, without any protection from the weather, mosquitoes or poor hygiene.

He was among the 4,000 fishers who supported about 50,000 people in Gaza before the current war began.

It is a measure of Israel’s immorality that it attacks people searching for fish and other food at a time when Gaza is experiencing a famine.

Rasha Abou Jalal is a journalist in Gaza.