Israeli Naval Forces Escalate Attacks against Palestinian Fishermen in Gaza Sea; 12 Fishermen Arrested, 5 Fishing Boats Confiscated and Fishing Equipment Damaged.
Israeli gunboats stationed in the Gaza Sea chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within the limit allowed for fishing and opened fire at them. They arrested 12 fishermen, confiscated 5 boats off al-Waha shore in Beit Lahia town in the Northern Gaza Strip and damaged fishing equipment. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the continued Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip and is concerned over the continued targeting of fishermen and their livelihoods.
Economic and social rights of fishermen have been violated by the illegal naval blockade imposed by Israeli authorities on the Gaza Sea.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 18:30 on Saturday, 06 December 2014, Israeli gunboats stationed off northwest of al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2-3 miles and then surrounded 5 fishing boats boarded by 12 Palestinian fishermen. Israeli forces arrested all fishermen and took them to an unknown destination. They also confiscated the five boats and fishing nets. The fishermen, who are so far under arrest, were identified as:
· Safwat ‘Abdel Malek Hasan al-Sultan (30) and Sa’ed Ziyad Mahmoud Zayed (32); both from al-Salatin neighborhood, who were on a boat belonging to Fahmi Mahmoud Mohammed Zayed. Israeli forces confiscated their boat and fishing nets.
· Mahmoud Mohammed Mohammed Zayed (29) and his brother Ahmed (30), from al-Salatin neighborhood, who were both on a boat belonging to their father. The boat was confiscated and fishing nets were cut and confiscated.
· Mohammed Amin Rushdi Abu Wardeh (22) and his brother Yousif (19); from al-Salatin neighborhood, who were both on the board of a boat belonging to their father. The boat was confiscated and fishing nets were cut and confiscated.
· Belal Abu ‘Odah (23), Mahmoud Naser Mahfouz (23), Sofian Mahfouz (25), Yaser ‘Othman Meqdad (26), his brother Adham (27), and Bahaa’ al-Deen al-Najjar (22); all of them from al-Shati’ refugee camo, west of Gaza City. They were on the board of two boats that were confiscated with fishing nets.
PCHR condemns the continued Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and:
- Calls for immediately stopping the policy of chasing and arresting Palestinian fishermen, and allowing them to sail and fish freely;
- Calls upon Israeli forces to release the detained fishermen and compensate them for the material damage that might have incurred to them; and
- Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to immediately intervene to stop the Israeli violations against the Palestinian fishermen and allow them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza Sea.