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Israeli Attacks on Fishermen in the Gaza Sea

 

Israeli Naval forces continued to carry out attacks on Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip during the reporting period (01 July – 31 August 2015). PCHR documented 13 shooting incidents in which 3 fishermen were wounded while sailing on the sea. It also documented incidents in which Israeli Naval forces arrested 10 fishermen and confiscated 5 Palestinian fishing boats and fishing nets. Moreover, Israeli Naval forces damaged a Palestinian fishing boat during those attacks.

 The Israeli naval forces did not comply with the ceasefire agreement concluded between Israel and Palestinian armed groups under Egyptian auspices on 26 August 2014. This agreement includes allowing Palestinian fishermen to sail within 6 nautical miles in the Gaza Sea.  According to PCHR’s investigations, all attacks took place within the distance of 6 nautical miles, which proves that Israeli forces’ policies aim to tighten restrictions on the Gaza Strip’s fishermen and their livelihoods.

 Violations of the International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law

 Israel’s attacks against Palestinian fishermen, who do not pose any threat to Israeli soldiers, in the Gaza Strip constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, relevant to the protection of the civilian population and respect for its rights, including every person’s right to work, and the right to life, liberty and security of person, as codified in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), despite the fact that Israel is a State Party to the Covenant.  Furthermore, these attacks occurred in a time where the fishers did not pose any threat to the Israeli naval troops, as they were doing their job to secure a living.  Israeli violations in the reporting period were as follows:

  First: Shooting Incidents

 During the reporting period, PCHR documented 13 shooting incidents in which Israeli forces fired at Palestinian fishermen in the sea off the Gaza Strip shore. The shooting incidents took place off the northern Gaza Strip shore, Gaza City shore, central Gaza Strip shore; and in Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip. As a result of the shooting incidents, 3 fishermen sustained wounds.


Second:  Israeli Naval Forces Wounded 3 Fishermen While Sailing on the Gaza Strip Sea

 – At approximately 06:00, 07 July 2015, Israeli Naval forces stationed off al-Wahah shore, northwest of Beit Lahiya, north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire heavily at the Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. As a result, Mahmoud Mohammed Rushdi Abu Wardah (26) was hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet to the left leg. He was then taken to Kamal ‘Odwan hospital to receive medical treatment, in which medical sources described his wound as minor.

 On 20 July 2015, Israeli Naval forces stationed off Gaza Valley shore, opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat carrying 2 fishermen while sailing within 6 nautical miles of the Gaza City shore. As a result, Haitham Tareq Abed al-Raziq Baker (28) from al- Shati’ refugee camp in Gaza, was hit with 2 rubber-coated metal bullets to the legs and was hit with another bullet to the upper part of his head. After which, Israeli Naval forces arrested Haitham Taerq Baker and Yousef Fayez Barakat, and then confiscated the fishing boat as well as 1,000 fishhooks. At approximately 15:00 on the next day, Israeli Naval forces released the fishermen while the fishing boat is still in custody.

 At approximately 01:30, on 21 July 2015, Israeli Naval forces opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat sailing within 6 nautical miles off to Deir al-Balah shore, in the central Gaza Strip. As a result, Ahmed Isma’il Ahmed ah-Shorafi (23) was hit with a live bullet to the lower back and sustained shrapnel wounds to the left arm. Ahmed was then taken to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza to receive medical treatment, where medical sources described his wounds as moderate.

 According to the wounded fisherman’s father, Isma’il Ahmed al-Shorafi (63), who accompanied his son on the fishing boat, stated that they installed 600 fishhooks off Deir al-Balah shore. After half an hour, a large Israel gunboat along with 2 small gunboats approached their boat and then Israeli Naval forces opened fire heavily at
them. Due to which, Isma’il’s son, Ahmed, was wounded and their fishing nets were lost.

 

Third: Arrest of Fishermen

 

 At approximately 06:00, on 07 July 2015, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Wahah shore, northwest of Beit Lahiya, north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at 2 Palestinian fishing boats carrying 6 fishermen and sailing within 3 nautical miles. The Israeli gunboats surrounded the 2 fishing boats and forced the fishermen to stop, jump into the water, and swim towards one of the Israeli gunboats. Israeli naval forces arrested them and confiscated their fishing boats. The arrested fishermen were identified as:

 1. Kamal Rushdi Abu Warda (45),

2. Ref’at Khaled Abu Warda (21),

3. Ref’at Zayed Zayed (26),

4. Medhat Zayed Zayed (23),

5. Ramadan Saleh Abu Warda (37), and

6. Mahmoud Mohammed Abu Warda (26).

At approximately 02:00, Israeli forces released the arrested fishermen.

 On 20 July 2015, Israeli gunboats opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat carrying 2 fishermen and sailing within 6 nautical miles off Gaza Valley shore. As a result, Haitham Tareq Abed al-Raziq Baker (28) was hit with 2 rubber-coated metal bullets to the legs and was hit with another bullet to the upper part of his head. After which, Israeli Naval forces arrested Haitham Taerq Baker and Yousef Fayez Barakat, and then confiscated the fishing boat and 1000 fishhooks. At approximately 15:00 on the next day, Israeli Naval forces released the fishermen while the fishing boat remained in custody.

 

 At approximately 03:30, on 10 August 2015, Israeli gunboats opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat sailing off Deir al-Balah shore, the central Gaza Strip. As a result, the fishing boat engine was damaged. After which, the Israeli gunboats surrounded the abovementioned fishing boat and arrested Mohammed Sa’ied Fathi al-Sa’idi (24); and Mohammed Sa’ied al-Shorafi (37), both of them are from Gaza City. The two fishermen were then taken to Ashdod seaport where the Israeli intelligence officers questioned them. At approximately 14:30 on the same day, Israeli forces released the fishermen at Beith Hanoun (Erez) Crossing, while the fishing boat remained in custody.

 

Fourth: Confiscation of Fishing Boats and equipment

 

 On 07 July 2015, Israeli gunboats surrounded a fishing boat belonging to Jehad Ahmed Mohammed al-Sultan (52), on board of which were 4 fishermen. Israeli Naval soldiers forced the fishermen to stop, jump into the water, and swim towards one of the Israeli gunboats. After which, Israeli Naval forces arrested 2 fishermen and then confiscated their fishing boat.

 On 20 July 2015, Israeli Naval forces opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat carrying 2 fishermen while sailing within 6 nautical miles off Gaza Valley shore, and then confiscated the fishing boat and 1000 fishhooks. During which, Hitham Tareq Abed al-Razeq (28), was hit with 2 rubber-coated metal bullets to the legs and was hit with another bullet to the upper part of his head. After which, Hitham Abed al-Razeq and Yousef Fayiz Khalil Barakat were arrested.

 On 21 July 2015, Israeli Naval forces opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat carrying 2 fishermen while sailing within 6 nautical miles off Deir al-Balah shore, in the central Gaza Strip. As a result of chasing the fishing boat, 600 fishhooks were lost in the sea, while Ahmed Isma’il Ahmed al-Shorafi (23) was hit with a live bullet to the lower back and shrapnel to his left arm. Ahmed was then taken to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City to receive medical treatment.

 

 On 10 August 2015, Israeli gunboats chased a fishing boat sailing off Deir al-Balah shore, in the central Gaza Strip. The Israeli Naval forces arrested 2 fishermen and confiscated their fishing boat. The arrested fishermen were identified as: Mohammed Sa’ied Fathi al-Sa’idi (24), and Mohammed Sa’ied al-Shorafi (37). At approximately 24:00, Israeli forces released the fishermen while the fishing boat was kept in custody.

 

Fifith: damage of fishing equipment and tools

 

 On the abovementioned incident, Israeli gunboats opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat sailing off Deir al-Balah shore, in the central Gaza Strip. Due to which, the fishing boat engine broke down.

 Table(1):
Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Fishermen in the Gaza Strip in July and August
2015

Month

Firing

Injuries

Arrest Incidents

Number of Detainees

Confiscation of Fishing Boats and Fishing Equipment

Confiscation of Fishing Equipment

Damaging Fishing Equipment

July

7

3

8

4

August

6

2

1

1

Table
(2): Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Fishermen in the Gaza Strip since the
beginning of 2015

Month

Firing

Injuries

Arrest Incidents

Number of Detainees

Confiscation of Fishing Boats

Confiscation of Fishing Equipment

Damaging Fishing Equipment

January 2015

12

4

2

8

1

2

4

February

15

March

12

2

2

6

3

1

April

15

1

2 (fishing boat – net)

May

27

7

1

2

1

1

3

June

10

4

14

3

2

3

July

7

3

8

4

August

6

2

1

1

Total

104

21

40

13

5

14