A report on:

Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Fishers in the Gaza Strip

1 June 2008 – 31 August 2009



 Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations
Affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists - Geneva

Member of the­­­­­­­ International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) - Paris

Member of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights NetworkCopenhagen


E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org

Web-Page: www.pchrgaza.org




This report documents Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip from 1 June 2008 to 31 August 2009. This is the third report in a series published by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR); it discusses the reality of life for Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip and the attacks which they are subject to as they attempt to perform their work. These Israeli attacks aim at imposing restrictions on the areas in which Palestinian fishermen are allowed to work, and effectively deny their right to work. Attacks on fishermen are one element of the widespread violations of international law perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli attacks violate Palestinian fishermen’s right to life, security and personal safety. The targeting of fishermen, and their property, including seaports, boats, and fishing equipment, constitutes serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Israeli forces periodically escalate their attacks, for example, in the last week of the reporting period, Israeli forces attacked a number of Palestinian fishing boats, resulting in one boat being set afire.

During the reporting period, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued imposing a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip. This blockade, part of the wider blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, constitutes a form of collective punishment, in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In addition, IOF reduced the area allowed for fishing in the Gaza Strip Sea from 20 nautical miles – the area agreed on in the Palestinian-Israeli agreements[1] – to six nautical miles in 2008. In 2009, this area was further illegally reduced to just 3 nautical miles. During the latest offensive on the Gaza Strip (from 27 December 2008 to18 January 2009), IOF imposed a complete sea closure on the Gaza Strip whereby Palestinian fishermen were prevented from reaching seaports, sailing or fishing. The period following the offensive witnessed a partial sea closure which prevented fishermen from performing their work freely.

IOF continued to attack Palestinian fishermen, even in the restricted area in which they were allowed to fish. Such attacks prevent fishermen from working, endanger their lives, and damage equipment. IOF also confiscated fishing boats and detained, attacked and arrested fishermen, often imposing heavy fines.

PCHR’s Economic and Social Rights unit has closely monitored the fishing sector in the Gaza Strip. The unit has consistently highlighted and documented the issues relating to fishermen and the fishing sector, and has issued a number of specialized reports and periodicals which covered the Israeli violations against the Gaza Strip fishermen. The unit also reinforced its activities in that field and started working with Fishermen’s Union and other NGOs within a cooperative and consultative framework to serve the interests of fishermen in the Strip. PCHR also support fishermen who are victims of Israeli attacks, by providing legal support and representation, and through the submission of compensation claims.

The full report is available in PDF format.



[1] According to Oslo agreement, the 42-km Gaza Strip Coast was divided to k.m.1 areas. K extends to 20 miles in the north of Gaza and 1,5 miles to the south, m extends from 20 miles in the south to a mile in the Egyptian waters, and 1 area extends to 20 miles from the seashore