Skip to main content

Israel expands Gaza fishing zone after demonstrations

Along with several other humanitarian gestures, Israel announced it would expand the offshore fishing zone by 15 nautical miles.
This picture taken on April 26, 2021, shows a view of fishing boats moored at the fishing port of Gaza City.

Israel on Wednesday said it would expand the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip coast following a wave of Palestinian protests against Israel's restrictions on the impoverished enclave.

The Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli defense body that handles civilian affairs in the Palestinian Territories, announced the expansion along with a series of other goodwill gestures on Wednesday.

"It has been decided to expand the fishing zone in the Gaza Strip to 15 nautical miles, as well as to completely open the Kerem Shalom crossing for the passage of equipment and goods," said COGAT.

Fishing is a major source of revenue for the impoverished Palestinian enclave. Israel, which maintains a blockade on Hamas-run Gaza, has over the years placed limits on how far Gazan fishermen can go to fish, as a way of pressuring the militant group.

The 1993 Oslo Accord required Israel to allow an offshore fishing range of 20 nautical miles. Israel has reduced the size of the zone since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007 in what rights groups say is a form of collective punishment that harms the civilian population.

At 15 nautical miles, the expansion announced Wednesday is the furthest distance allowed by Israel since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.

During the 11-day war with Hamas in May, Israel closed the fishing zone and the Kerem Shalom commercial border crossing. On Wednesday, COGAT announced it would fully reopen the crossing and permit additional Gazan merchants to enter Israel. The military body also said Israel will supply Gaza with an additional 1.3 billion gallons of water.

COGAT said the new measures “are conditional upon the continued preservation of the region’s security stability for the long term.”

The announcement comes after four days of violent riots on the Gazan border. On Monday, an Israeli soldier died from a gunshot wound sustained during a protest last month, which also left two Palestinians dead and dozens wounded.

The Israeli steps are aimed at reducing tensions with Hamas, which in recent weeks has sent incendiary balloons across the border that have set fires to Israeli farmland.

Ahead of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett meeting with President Joe Biden last week, Israel unveiled a number of humanitarian gestures, including an easing of restrictions at the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Earlier this month, Israel reached an agreement with Qatar and the United Nations to allow the regular transfer of cash payments to families in the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

Text Alerts - Be the first to get breaking news, exclusives, and PRO content.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial