SAMY AL-GOGA walks down to the shore holding his 18‑month-old daughter and looks out towards the sea. "It's far too dangerous to go fishing now," the tall Palestinian fisherman says. He is standing on a filthy beach at Gaza City close to an area called Beach Camp that houses refugees. A couple of hundred yards further up the shoreline, raw sewage flows from a pipe into the sea, and on the horizon the grey silhouette of a ship can just be made out through the haze of the summer heat. "That's an Israeli gunboat on patrol," he says, pointing with the stump at the end of his left arm.
Until 17 months ago, Goga was out fishing in his boat nearly every night catching sardines to sell at the hesbeh (market) each day. On the morning of March 5, 2007, however, the 29-year-old's career as a fisherman ended when, he claims, his vessel was attacked and destroyed by an Israeli gunboat.
"We'd been fishing in the south near Rafah and were followed by a boat around 5am on our way back in. As we landed they fired rockets at us. I lost my hand in the attack and my brother was hit by shrapnel," Goga says, lifting his left arm. He has no idea why his boat was targeted, as it had not strayed beyond the six-mile limit.