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May 23, 2012

Occupied Palestine | فلسطين

Maan News Agency | May 23, 2012

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA CITY (Reuters) — Israeli gunboats and an Egyptian clampdown on fuel smuggling into the Gaza Strip are strangling the enclave’s little fishing fleet, slowly turning a generation of fishermen into fishmongers.

Since 2009, they have been unable to sail out beyond three miles because of Israel’s strictly enforced blockade. This year they can hardly afford to go out at all because diesel has nearly tripled in price.

There are about 3,700 full-time fishermen in the Gaza Strip ready to serve a market of 1.7 million Palestinians. They used to export to Israel. Now Gaza imports about 80 percent of its needs from the Egyptians and the Israelis.

“Once we made enough to let us give away fish to the poor and needy people. These days we are begging for aid,” said Mahmoud al-Assi, 66, a fisherman most of his…

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