Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Press Releases, 18 November 2013
In another new incident in only one week, on Sunday, 17 November 2013, Israeli naval forces arrested two fishermen and confiscated their boat and 10 fishing items while they were fishing approximately one and a half nautical miles off the al-Waha Resort shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli forces opened fire at the fishermen’s boats in the area. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the continuous attacks against Palestinian fishermen as they violate their right to sail and fish freely in the Gaza waters. PCHR also expresses concern over the continued targeting of fishermen and their livelihood. Economic and social rights of fishermen have been violated by the illegal naval blockade imposed by Israeli authorities on the Gaza waters since June 2007.
According to investigations conducted, at approximately 17:45 on Sunday, 17 November 2013, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha Resort shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats sailing nearly 1.5 nautical miles in the sea. An Israeli gunboat surrounded a boat boarding 2 fishermen; ‘Ammar As’ad ‘Abdel Malek al-Sultan (21) and Muhsin Akram Diab Zayed (24) from al-Salatin neighborhood in Beit Lahia. Israeli naval soldiers forced fishermen to jump into the water and swim towards the Israeli gunboat while the two fishermen were pulling 10 fishing nets, 1,000 meters long in total, from water. The two fishermen were terrified due to the continued firing at them. The Israeli soldiers then confiscated their fishing boat and items and took the fishermen to AshdodPort, where they were arrested and questioned. At approximately 03:00 on Monday, 18 November 2013, Israeli forces released the two fishermen via Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossin, but kept the fishing boat and items.
It should be mentioned that last week, on 10 November 2013, the Israeli forces arrested two Palestinian fishermen fishing around 3 nautical miles off the same shore and confiscated their boat. Saddam Saleh Abu Wardah (23) from Jablia in the northern Gaza Strip sustained bullet-shrapnel wounded to the abdomen. Israeli naval forces released the two fishermen, but they held their boat in the evening. On 09 November 2013, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing 5 nautical miles off al-Sudaniyah shore in the northern Gaza Strip. As a result, the fishing nets were damaged, and 39 fishing items were confiscated. The firing raised fear amidst fishermen, who were forced to flee from the area fearing of being shot or arrested. They left the fishing nets behind them, and no injuries were reported.
PCHR condemns the continued Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and:
1. Calls for immediately stopping the policy of chasing and arresting Palestinian fishermen, and allowing them to sail and fish freely;
2. Demands compensation for the fishermen for the physical and material damage caused to them and their property as a result of these violations;
3. 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 to allow them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza sea.