On Saturday, Israeli authorities ordered a fishing boat to stop fishing in a section of the Balfour Bridge that connects Israel’s southern Negev Desert to the Mediterranean Sea.
The area is the only one of its size in the world that is not accessible to Palestinians, but fishermen have complained of harassment by Israeli authorities.
The area was recently re-opened by Israel after years of closure.
The fishing boats, some of which had been caught in the area, had to leave the area because of the closures.
“The area has been closed for over a year due to the closure of the bridge, and this time we had to stop the boat,” the fisherman, whose name has been withheld for security reasons, told The Jerusalem Report.
“I was fishing in the Bafalim river when they started to harass us.
I have not seen a single Palestinian fisherman since the closure began.””
The reason for the ban was the fishing boats that had come here from Gaza, who had been in the [Gaza] Strip.
The reason is that we have been fishing for five years and have not caught anything,” the man added.”
We have been trying to reach the area since April, and we have yet to find anything, not even a single fish.
It is so frustrating.
The fishermen have been harassed all their lives, and they are still not catching anything.”
The man, who was not identified for security concerns, was caught by Israeli Border Police officers while fishing in Balfur Bridge.
“The boat was confiscated and the Israeli police came and seized the fishing boat,” he said.
“We will appeal, but it is a difficult case because it was the first time I saw the Israelis.”
The fisherman’s frustration was shared by others, who said they were also harassed by the authorities, with Israeli authorities claiming that fishermen were “fishing on Palestinian land.”
“We are not the first to be harassed,” he added.
“Our boat was taken to a police station to get them to stop harassing us.
They said we were fishing on Palestinian territory, and now they want to punish us for that?”
The man was quoted by the Times of Israel as saying: “We were fishing with a few other fishermen, and one of the fishermen caught me.
They wanted to catch me with a net, and I had no choice but to let them catch me.”
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Interior, which oversees the border, said: “The Ministry of the Interior does not have jurisdiction over fishermen who do not have permits to fish in this area.”