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The New Arab

Blockade busting 'message in a bottle' reaches Gaza

The bottle was cast into the sea by a holidaying British couple in Greece. [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 August, 2017

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A fisherman in the Gaza Strip netted a surprise summer's catch this month - a message in a bottle.
A fisherman in the Gaza Strip netted a surprise summer's catch this month in the besieged coastal territory - a message in a bottle.

Under a jointly enforced Israeli –Egyptian blockade for over a decade, movement in and out of Gaza is highly restricted.

Israel has also imposed a fishing zone off Gaza's coast which restricts fishermen to six nautical miles from the shore.

Jihad al-Soltan made the rare catch while fishing one day in August, finding a message in a bottle cast into the sea by a holidaying British couple on the Greek Island of Rhodes two months earlier.

"We are currently on holiday in Rhodes and we would love to know how far this bottle got - even if it's just the next beach," the note inside read.

Travelling 800 kilometers and passing Israeli warships on the way, the couple never imagined it would end up in Gaza.

Using an email address supplied in the note, Soltan contacted the senders of the letter, Bethany Wright and her boyfriend Zac Marriner.

"Hello, Thank you for picking up this bottle. As a reward here are some magic flowers," the couple wrote in their letter.

By the time the bottle had arrived the flowers had wilted, but Soltan was buoyed by the fact the bottle had broken a siege that Gazans are unable to.

"As a fisherman I felt this letter traveled through borders and international waters without restrictions while we as fishermen are unable to go beyond six miles," he said.

"I hope one day we would become as free as this bottle was."

Inspired by the event, Gazans gathered on Tuesday to throw their own bottles containing messages into the sea, hoping they may also break the siege and reach the outside world in their place.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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