On Thursday morning, 21 December 2017, Israeli gunboats chased and opened fire at the Palestinian fishing boats sailing off al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia. After that, the Israeli gunboats surrounded a fishing boat manned by 2 fishermen and then opened fire at it. The Israeli naval soldiers then arrested the fishermen. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has monitored the escalation of Israeli attacks against fishermen in the Gaza Sea, indicating the Israeli ongoing policy to target fishermen and their livelihoods.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 06:30 on Thursday, 21 December 2017, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. They then surrounded a fishing boat belonging to Ghalib Ramadan Hasan al-Sultan (69) and sailing only 300 meters off the shore. The boat was manned by Mohamed Ghalib al-Sultan (25), from al-Salateen neighborhood in Beit Lahia; and Uranus Shareef al-Sultan (21), from al-‘Atatrah area in Beit Lahia. The soldiers then ordered the fishermen to take off their clothes, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. The fishermen were then arrested.
The Israeli naval forces attempted to sink the fishing boat by heavily opening fire at it and causing severe damage in it. However, the fishermen, who were in the area, could reach the boat and pull it back to the shore after 2 hours of the incident.
PCHR strongly condemns the Israeli ongoing attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip. Thus, PCHR:
- Immediately call for ending the Israeli policy against fishermen and allowing them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza Sea;
- Calls for releasing the arrested fishermen and compensating victims of Israeli violations for the physical and material damage; and
- Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, to intervene to stop all Israeli violations against fishermen and allow them to fish freely in the Gaza Sea.