It is six o'clock in the morning when fisherman Abdullah al-Hissi tries to get the engine in his fiberglass boat to start today's trip outside the only port in Gaza. The 76 year-old fisherman still feels confident that he will have more luck with him than the iconic Santiago, the hero of Ernest Hemingway's short novel The old man and the sea. Santiago spent 80 days in his boat without catching a single fish.
Dreams of open waters. Gaza fishermen may be similar to Santiago, but while he had the entire Atlantic Ocean as his fishing ground, Abdullah and his friends can't go further than four nautical miles off the coast: This is closely watched by the Israeli Navy.
A few decades ago, fishermen in Gaza were able to go five times as far, hauling hundreds of kilos of bros and sea bass from the depths of the Mediterranean. Today, a typical day catch can be just a few kilos of small sardines.
But the sad conditions for Abdullah and his fishing colleagues could look quite different if there was a port approved by the Israeli government og allowed for fishermen from Gaza to use. "If we had had that opportunity, we could have fished. . .