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 Fact Sheet

 

Israeli Attacks on Fishermen in the Gaza Sea

 

The issuance of this factsheet coincides with the deterioration of
Palestinian fishermen’s suffering in the Gaza Strip due to the ongoing Israeli
naval blockade and preventing fishermen from fishing freely as well as the
severe lack of fuel supplies needed to run the fishing boats and equipment.  According to PCHR’s follow-up, hundreds of
Palestinian boats have broken down and more than 4000 fishermen have suffered
due to being denied access to the fuel needed for their work.  This has led to serious deterioration in
living conditions of a population of more than 75.000, who depends on the
fishing sector as a main livelihood.[1]

 

 

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) documented 7
attacks launched by the Israeli forces against Palestinian fishermen during the
reporting period (01 – 30 June 2013), including 7 shooting incidents in which a
fisherman was wounded.  A fishing boat
and 17 pieces of fishing nets were also damaged by bullets.

 

Although Israeli authorities limited the fishing distance in Gaza
Sea to 6 nautical miles, they neither complied with that distance nor allowed
Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip to sail and fish freely and continued
their attacks against them.  PCHR
documented all the attacks carried out 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 sources of livelihood.

 

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: Firing at Fishing Boats in the Gaza Strip Waters

 

During the reporting period, PCHR documented 7 cases in which
Israeli forces fired at Palestinian fishermen in the sea off the Gaza shore.
These attacks took place within the 6 nautical miles allowed for fishermen to
sail and fish in, according to the cease fire agreement concluded between
Israel and Palestinian armed groups under Egyptian and international auspices.

 

1 Fisherman Wounded with Israeli Naval Troops’ Fires

 

At approximately 05:00 on 30 June 2013, Israeli forces opened fire
at Palestinian fishing boats with 6 nautical miles off the Soudaniya shore in
the north of the Gaza Strip.  While Sharif Hussein ‘Arfat (29), a
fisherman from Gaza, attempted to flee and hide from the shooting, his right
leg stuck into spinning fishing, which turned around his leg in a complicated
way.  As a result, his leg started to
bleed, and he was later transferred to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza to receive
medical treatment.  Due to his serious
condition, he was transferred to the Israeli hospital.

 

Third: Confiscation of Fishing Boats and Fishing Nets

 

PCHR has followed up and documented Israel’s violations against
Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea, particularly the confiscation of
fishing boats and fishing equipment for lengthy periods of time.  During
the reporting period, the Israeli forces confiscated 1 fishing boat and other
fishing tools (17 pieces of fishing nets).

 

At approximately 21:00 on 08 June 2013, an Israeli gunboat opened
fire at a group of fishing boats while sailing at approximately 3 nautical
miles off the Waha Resort in the north of the Gaza Strip.  As a result, a fishing boat belonging to Taha
Mohammed Sa’id Sa’adallah (30) were partially damaged and 7 pieces of nets were
confiscated as well.  Israeli forces also
confiscated 10 pieces of nets belonging to Mustafa Ahmed ‘Abdallah al-Sultan
(62).

 

Thus, the number of the Israeli attacks against Palestinian
fishermen in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of 2013 has risen to 71
attacks, including 63 shooting incidents which resulted in the injury of 2
fishermen, in addition to 4 chase operations in which 11 fishermen were
arrested, and 4 boats and 6 fishing tools were confiscated.

 

 

Table of Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Fishermen in Gaza City
during June 2013

 

Month

Firing

Killed Persons

Injuries

Arrest Incidents

Number of Detainees

Confiscation of Fishing Boats

Confiscation of Fishing
Equipment

Total

June 2013

7

0

1

4

11

0

3

26

 

 


[1]
Over the past years, people of the Gaza Strip almost-completely depended on
fuel smuggled from Egypt through border tunnels.  Since mid-June 2013, supplies of Egyptian
fuel stopped resulting in damages that made economic activities stop in many
sectors, including the naval fishing blockade.