He says discussions will have to take place about each specific crossing and what changes will be made, indicating that there may not be an across-the-board easing of restrictions. He indicated that he did not expect substantial changes to the restrictions on exports, which have virtually killed Gaza's manufacturing sector, which had provided many jobs in the territory where unemployment is rampant. There may be an increase in the agricultural exports, which already take place, he said.
Extending the distance Gaza's fisherman can trawl off the shore of the coastal enclave makes a significant impact in their livelihood.
In the past decade, their territory has been steadily and drastically curtailed. After the Oslo Accords, signed between the PLO and Israel in 1993, Palestinian fishermen were able to fish up to 20 nautical miles offshore. That was reduced to 12 miles in 2002. In 2006, when Hamas captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, the fishing zone was reduced to six miles offshore. And after the war in Gaza in 2009, the fishing zone was reduced to three miles offshore. Thousands of fishermen have abandoned their trade as the shallow waters near shore were overfished.
In recent years, fishermen began buying fish from Egypt to sell in Gaza, a business Zedan calls "perilous and costly." Though he's thrilled about the new waters that are now open to his nets, he has to repair his fleet of fishing boats, which have been sitting idly in the harbor for years, before he can get back up to speed.