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Stop Collective Punishment Policy against fishermen in Gaza Sea, Israeli Naval Forces Arrests 10 Fishermen, Confiscates 2 Boats and Drowns Another

Ref: 27/2016

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the last night attack by Israeli naval forces against a number of fishermen in the Northern Gaza Sea.  Israeli forces arrested 10 fishermen confiscated two fishing boats and drowning a third one, which fishermen later pulled.  PCHR calls upon the international community to intervene for the protection of Palestinian fishermen and their right to sail and fish freely in Gaza Sea and stop all forms of collective punishment against the Palestinian fishermen and their property which constitute a violation of the international humanitarian law and the international human rights law.   

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 19:00 on Sunday, 15 May 2016, while a number of Palestinian fishing boats were sailing within 3 nautical miles off Northern Gaza shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli gunboats stationed near the fishing boats heavily opened fire and fired dozens of shells at the boats.  Two Israeli gunboats then surrounded 3 Palestinian fishing boats belonging to the sons of Redwan ‘Abdullah Baker and manned by 10 fishermen, including 3 children.  The Israeli soldiers forced the fishermen to take their clothes off, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboats.  The fishermen were then arrested and taken to Ashdod Seaport for interrogation.  The arrested fishermen were identified as:

  1. Khaled Redwan Baker (44);
  2. Khamis Redwan Baker (51);
  3. Ghaleb Redwan Baker (38);
  4. Ahmed Khaled Baker (23);
  5. Mohammed Khamis Baker (17);
  6. Jamil Ahmed ‘Adas (17);
  7. Muhanned ‘Abdel Rahman Baker (24);
  8. Mohammed Mahmoud Baker (17);
  9. Adham Ashraf al-Ashwah (23) and
  10. Hasan Ibrahim Madi (26).

All of the arrested fishermen are from al-Rimal neighbourhood and al-Shati’ refugee camp in Gaza City.  Moreover, Israeli naval forces confiscated 2 fishing boats and drowned another one, which was later pulled by other fishermen, after shooting and shelling it. At approximately 21:30, Israeli forces released 8 fishermen while they so far keep Khamis Baker and Hasan Madi under arrest.  Moreover, the two boats are still under the Israel forces’ custody.

PCHR strongly condemns the new Israeli attack against Palestinian fishermen and their property. PCHR also considers that 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 the international human rights law.