Print
Israeli Naval forces continued to carry out attacks on Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip during the reporting period (01 November – 31 December 2015). All attacks took place within 6 nautical miles. PCHR documented 22 shooting incidents, due to which, 2 fishermen were wounded and a fishing boat was damaged. Moreover, PCHR documented 6 shelling incidents and Israeli gunboats chasing fishing boats in the Gaza Strip waters. As a result, Israeli naval forces arrested 29 fishermen, including a child, and confiscated 8 fishing boats.

Thus, the Israeli naval forces’ attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea in 2015 increased up to 139 shooting incidents that resulted in wounding 24 fishermen and damaging 16 fishing boats; in addition to 6 shelling and chasing incidents that resulted in the arrest of 71 fishermen and confiscation of 22 fishing boats and 5 fishing nets.

 

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 22 shooting incidents and 6 shelling incidents against Palestinian fishermen sailing within the allowed fishing area off the shores of the northern Gaza City, Gaza City and Khan Yunis.

 

Second: Injuries

On 16 November 2015, Israeli gunboats opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat manned by two Palestinian fishermen and sailing within 6.5 nautical miles off Gaza Seaport. As a result, the two fishermen sustained minor wounds. They were identified as Hassan Mohammed Miqdad (31), who was hit with a live bullet above his left eye, and Mahmoud Taiseer Basal (21), who was wounded to the right arm. Both of them were then taken to al-Shifa Hospital to receive medical treatment. Medical sources at the hospital classified their injuries as minor.

 

Third: Arrest of Fishermen

  • On 07 December 2015, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudanya shore in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat belonging to Mohammed ‘Ashour al-Toum (49), from ‘Amir housing project, west of Jabalia. The Palestinian fishing boat was boarded by two fishermen, who were identified as Zayed Zaki Taroush (19), from Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip; and Mahmoud Mohammed Omar (33), from al-Shati refugee camp. The abovementioned fishermen were sailing within 3 nautical miles off al-Sudanya shore. Israeli naval soldiers surrounded the fishing boat and forced the fishermen to stop, after which, the soldiers arrested both of them and confiscated the fishing boat.
  • At approximately 16:30, on 07 December 2015, Israeli naval forces stationed off al-Sudanya shore in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing in the Gaza Sea. An Israeli gunboat surrounded a Palestinian fishing boat belonging to Salah Morad Miqdad (66). The boat was boarded by four fishermen sailing within 6 nautical miles. The Israeli naval officers forced the fishermen to stop the boat, take off their clothes, jump into the water and swim towards one of the Israeli gunboats. Moreover, they arrested the fishermen and took them to Ashdod Seaport, after which, they confiscated their boat. The aforementioned fishermen were identified as Salah Morad Miqdad (66); Ali Nafez al-Akhsham (34) and his brother Yosri (22); and Mohammed Abed al-‘Aziz al-Halabi (40). On the following day, Israeli naval forces released the four fishermen, while their fishing boat was kept in custody.
  • At approximately 18:00, on 21 December 2015, Israeli naval forces stationed off al-Sudanya shore in the northern Gaza Strip, fired live bullets and dozens of shells at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 1.5-2.5 nautical miles. Moreover, Israeli gunboats surrounded a number of Palestinian fishing boats. They then chased and arrested four fishermen. The arrested fishermen were then taken to Ashdod Seaport and two fishing boats were confiscated. The abovementioned fishermen were identified as Wesam Fathi al-Sultan (33); Amjad Jum’a Zayed (38), both are from al-Salateen neighborhood in Beit Lahia; Khader Jamal Baker (22); and Ayman Jamel ‘Awad (19), both are from al-Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City. On the following day, Israeli naval forces released the four fishermen, while the two fishing boats were kept in custody.
  • At approximately 09:00, on 23 December 2015, Israeli naval forces stationed off al-Sudanya shore in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within three nautical miles. Israeli naval soldiers surrounded two Palestinian fishing boats boarded by nine fishermen and beat them up with stun batons. Moreover, the soldiers arrested the fishermen and confiscated their boats. The arrested fishermen were identified as:
  1. Ra’ed Abed al-Fatah Baker (40),
  2. Tayseer Yehia Baker (25),
  3. Medhat Fahmi Baker (40),
  4. Mahmoud Abu Ghanim (35),
  5. Mohammed Mostafa Baker (17),
  6. Ramadan Subhi Baker (40),
  7. Mohammed Jamal Baker (33),
  8. Omar Mohammed Baker (35), and
  9. ‘Aziz Radwan Baker (27).

At approximately 02:00 on the following day, Israeli naval forces released the abovementioned fishermen, while their boats were kept in custody.

  • At approximately 09:00, on 24 December 2015, Israeli naval forces stationed off al-Sudanya shore in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at two Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles. Israeli gunboats surrounded the two fishing boats boarded by 10 fishermen, including a child, and beat them up with stun batons. Furthermore, the soldiers arrested the fishermen and confiscated their boats. The arrested fishermen were identified as:
  1. ‘Attaf ‘Ayed Baker (33),
  2. Moheeb ‘Ayd Baker (30),
  3. Mohammed ‘Ayd Baker (16),
  4. Mohammed Zuhair al-Ashwah (26),
  5. Yusri Nafez al-Akhsham (22),
  6. Bahjat Khalil Baker (47),
  7. Khalil Khalil Baker (23),
  8. Hassan Zaki Baker (34),
  9. Mohammed Jamal Baker (27), and
  10. Shadi Jad Baker (12).

At approximately 22:00, Israeli naval forces released the arrested fishermen, while their boats were kept in custody.

Fourth: Confiscation of Fishing Equipment

  • During the reporting period, Israeli naval forces chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing in the Gaza Strip Sea and transported 8 of them to Ashdod Seaport. It should be noted that those boats remained under the Israeli custody. PCHR documented attacks against seven fishing boats sailing within 1.5-3 nautical miles while attacked an 8th boat sailing within 6 nautical miles. This shows how the Israeli naval forces continued to chase Palestinian fishermen to prevent them from sailing and fishing freely[1].

 

Fifth: Damaging Fishing Equipment

  • On 23 December 2015, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudanya shore in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at two Palestinian fishing boats sailing within three nautical miles. As a result, an engine of one of the boats broke down.

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

 

Month Firing shelling Injuries Arrest Incidents Number of Detainees Confiscation of Fishing Boats Confiscation Fishing Equipment Damaging Fishing Equipment
November 2015 11 2 2
December 11 4 5 29 8 1 (a fishing boat)
Total 22 6 2 5 29 8 1

 

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

 

Month Firing shelling Injuries Arrest Incidents Number of Detainees Confiscation of Fishing Boats Confiscation Fishing Equipment Damaging Fishing Equipment
January 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 4 14 3 2 3
July 7 3 8 4
August 6 2 1 1
September 7 1 1 fishing boat
October 6 1 2 1 fishing boat
November 11 2 2
December 11 4 5 29 8 1 fishing boat
Total 139 6 24 71 22 5 16

 

 

 

 

 

[1] See incidents mentioned in the above factsheet.