Israeli forces Release 5 Fishermen, 2 of whom Wounded, and Keep 2 Fishing Boats in Custody


By Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, June 2, 2016

On Tuesday, 31 May 2016, Israeli navy forces opened fire at 5 fishermen on board of two fishing boats and wounded 2 of them, after which, Israeli navy forces arrested the 5 fishermen and confiscated their two boats. Israeli navy forces did not offer the medical aid for one of the wounded fishermen, who was hit with a live bullet to the right knee. On the same day, Israeli forces released the five fishermen, while the two boats have been still in custody in Ashdod Seaport. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the Israeli attacks against fishermen and their property in the Gaza Strip Sea and calls upon the international community to intervene to protect the Palestinian fishermen and stop violations and direct attacks practiced against them and their property.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 06:50 on Tuesday, 31 May 2016, 3 fishing boats were sailing within 3 nautical miles offshore, southwest of the Gaza City, on board of which were 7 fishermen. A fisherman stated that he saw two Israeli gunboats quickly approaching their boats, therefore, the fishermen attempted to flee to the shore for fear of being arrested or for their boats to be confiscated. However, they were surprised by heavy fire at them. As a result, Rajab Khalid Rajab Abu Riyalah (30) was hit with a live bullet to the right knee, while his brother Khalid, who was on board of the same boat, was hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet to the abdomen. Israeli forces arrested the two wounded fishermen in addition to the three others, who were identified as Hasan Mohamed Ibrahim Miqdad (31) and his brother Mohamed (29) and Mohamed Bashir Sha’ban Abu Riyalah (21) after forcing them to take off their clothes. The Israeli navy forces pulled the 2 boats to Ashdod Seaport. A third fishing boat manned by 2 fishermen fled to the shore. The 2 wounded fishermen received first aid, while although Rajab Abu Riyalah was referred to Barzilai Medical Center and stayed there for 6 hours, the bullet remained in his knee. The 5 fishermen were released at approximately 19:00 on the same day, but the 2 boats remained in the Israeli custody.

Rajab Khaled Rajab Abu Riyala (30) said to PCHR’s fieldworker that once he was admitted to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, he underwent a surgery to take the bullet out of his knee. It should be noted that Abu Riyala has been at the hospital.

PCHR strongly condemns the new Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen and their property, arrests, opening gunfire at them without offering first aid, confiscation of fishing boats and other property. PCHR also considers these attack as a grave violation of the fishermen’s right to sail and fish freely and to protect their property in the Gaza waters.  Moreover, PCHR believes that such attacks against Palestinian fishermen constitute a form of collective punishment against them which aims to target fishermen and their livelihood. Furthermore, PCHR calls upon the international community to provide protection for Palestinian fishermen and their right to sail and fish freely, and to stop all forms of collective punishment against fishermen and their property which violate the international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

وim on the, Rajab Khalid Rajab Abu Riyalah (30) was hit with a live bullet to the knee, while his brother, Khalid who was accomp.