Israel Seizes Two Gaza Fishing Boats

Claim they ventured too far out into sea


Despite an Israeli concession to permit Gazans to fish up to six nautical miles from shore rather than three, Israeli forces detained a Palestinian fisherman and seized two boats as their crews tried to venture farther into the Mediterranean Sea.

Hamas, the militant faction that controls Gaza, denounced the action as a threat to the week-old cease-fire agreement that ended eight days of cross-border violence.

Israel has not officially announced any change in its naval blockade against Gaza, but a senior government official and a military official confirmed on Wednesday what they described as a "new arrangement" in which fishing boats would be allowed to venture twice as far from the Gaza coast as the previously enforced limit. The Oslo peace accords signed by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in September 1993 called for allowing fishing up to 20 nautical miles from shore, but experts say that never came to fruition.