Wed, 22 Sep 2021

GAZA, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Residents of the Gaza Strip said Israel had eased some restrictions on the blockaded enclave by expanding the allowed fishing zone and granting entry access to some imported goods.

In the early morning of Sunday, dozens of Gazan fishermen gathered to sell various kinds of fish caught a night earlier, saying the expansion of the allowed fishing zone enabled them to fish more.

Mohammed Saeed, a fisherman from the al-Shati refugee camp, told Xinhua that for the first time in months, he had succeeded in fishing many kinds of fish off the coast of Gaza.

"Today, I fished sardines, shrimp, lox, bream, and other types of fish. If the Israeli authorities further expand the allowed fishing zone, we will fish more and earn enough money," said the 36-year-old, the only breadwinner of a 12-member family.

"Since 2007, we have been suffering from the Israeli blockade as a result of the political conflict between Israel and the armed Palestinian groups," said Samir al-Masry, a 54-year-old fisherman from Gaza city.

The father of seven added that the siege imposed on the sea prevented many fishermen from living a decent life and forced them to rely on aids provided by international institutions.

"We need to put an end to the Israeli restrictions imposed on the sea, and to be able to fish in the entire coast of the Gaza Strip," the man said, adding that both sides should "avoid punishing civilians and let them live in safety."

On Sunday morning, the Israeli authorities allowed the entry of 29 vehicles into Gaza, which had been held at Israeli ports since May. Meanwhile, dozens of goods entered Gaza through the crossing point of Kerem Shalom, the only commercial passage that connects the enclave to the outside world.

Mahmoud Dawood, a car trader from Gaza city, finally received his cars that had been held at the Israeli ports for months.

"We were looking forward to receiving our cars in the Strip and sell them to our customers," the man said, adding that car trading can affect the economic situation of Gaza due to the high demand in the local market.

He expressed his hope that the Israeli authorities would decouple the political and economic situations in the Gaza Strip.

"Most of the Palestinians are civilians who are looking forward to living in peace. Therefore, I call on all the parties of the conflict to avoid getting us involved in any consequences of the political or military conflict," he said.

For his part, Tamer Ashour, an official in the Syndicate of Vehicle Importers, told Xinhua that only 29 cars were allowed to enter Gaza for the first time after the ban lasted for more than two months.

"On ordinary days, at least 100 vehicles enter Gaza. But after the military escalation between the Israeli army and the armed Palestinian groups, Israel stopped the import of vehicles," Ashour said.

On May 10, Israel waged a large-scale airstrike on the Gaza Strip after the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and other militant groups fired hundreds of rockets towards Israel. On May 21, Egypt mediated a ceasefire between the two sides that ended the fighting between the two sides.

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