|Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Fishermen in Gaza Sea|
|Monday, 03 September 2012 00:00|
Israeli Attacks on Fishermen in the Gaza Sea
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) documented 14 attacks launched by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) against Palestinian fishermen during the reporting period (01 July – 31 August 2012), including 11 incidents in which the IOF fired at fishermen and fishing boats, as a result of which one fishing boat was damaged, and one incident in which 2 fishermen were arrested while fishing nearly 300 meters offshore. The IOF also confiscated the fishing boat and equipment belonging to the 2 detained fishermen.
- Violation of the Right to Life and Security of Person
Israel’s attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip constitutes a flagrant violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, especially the right to life and security of the person, in accordance with Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the State of Israel is a party. The IOF perpetrated violations against Palestinian fishermen in the sea when these fishermen did not pose any threat to Israeli naval troops. The fishermen were practicing their right to work and seeking their livelihood within the territorial waters of the Gaza Strip when the IOF attacked them.
First: Firing at Fishing Boats in the Gaza Strip Waters
During the reporting period, PCHR documented 11 cases in which the IOF fired at Palestinian fishermen in the sea off the Gaza shore, though no injuries were reported. These attacks took place within the 3 nautical miles Israel allows fishermen to sail and fish in. PCHR also noticed that these firing incidents against fishermen and their boats took place in the context of denying fishermen their livelihood, and the imposition of more restrictions to terrify and prevent the fishermen from practicing their work freely.
Second: Arresting Fishermen and Confiscating Fishing Tools
During the reporting period, PCHR documented one incident in which IOF arrested 2 Palestinian fishermen, including a 16-year-old boy, while they were fishing 300 meters off the northern Gaza Strip shore. The fishermen are: Kamel Deeb al-Anqah (60) and his son Mahmoud (16).
In his testimony to PCHR, Kamel al-Anqah stated the following:
At 05:00 on Tuesday, 28 August 2012, I went fishing with my son Mahmoud. At 06:15, we collected our fishing nets and sailed to the shore. At 06:30, when we were nearly 300 meters off al-Waha Resort, 2 Israeli gunboats arrived and circled my fishing boat. There were 5 soldiers on board each gunboat. The soldier started firing intensively above our heads. One of the soldiers shouted at me and ordered me to stop. The gunfire continued. My son and I were panicking, so we stopped. One of the gunboats got closer to our boat and one of the soldiers ordered us to take our clothes off and swim towards the Israeli gunboat. The other gunboat was behind us. We took our clothes off and swam towards the gunboat. The soldiers handcuffed and blindfolded us. I saw a soldier leave the other gunboat and go to my boat. He attached a rope to my boat. They then sailed for more than 2 hours. We were transferred to a security center near the shore. We were interviewed by an officer, who questioned us until approximately 10:30. The soldiers gave us clothes and then drove us in a jeep to an unknown place. At around 12:00, we arrived. I could recognize this place; it was the Erez crossing. The soldiers held us in a room there till 14:00. They asked us what our names were and about our work in fishing. We were released at approximately 15:30. The soldiers refused to give me the fishing boat and tools back. My son Mahmoud has suffered from bad psychological conditions because of the pressure and panic we experienced.
Third: Damage of Fishing Equipment
At 10:50 on Tuesday, 28 August 2012, 2 Israeli gunboats surrounded 6 Palestinian fishing boats sailing nearly 400 meters off al-Sudaniya area in Beit Lahia, in the north of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli gunboats opened fire at the 6 boats, damaging one of them.
Mohammed Mahmoud Hejazi al-Louh (21), who was on board of one of the 6 fishing boats, stated the following:
Two Israeli gunboats with several soldiers suddenly appeared and got as close as to 10 meters from the boat. I was on board of the boats, together with another 3 fishermen. While firing at the front of the fishing boat, a soldier on one of the gunboats ordered me to stop, but I refused. The other gunboat was surrounding our fishing boat. I turned the boat around to escape while the boat was under direct fire. I managed to escape, even though the Israeli gunboats were only 400 meters from the shore, and the boat was hit by 5 bullets in different places. The other 5 fishing boats also managed to escape.
Table of Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Fishermen in Gaza City
(01 July – 31 August 2012)