During the reporting period (01- 31 November 2016), Israeli Naval forces continued to carry out attacks on Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip sailing within the allowed fishing areas. PCHR documented 18 shooting incidents, due to which, 4 fishermen were wounded and a fishing boat was damaged. Moreover, PCHR documented Israeli gunboats chasing fishing boats in the Gaza Strip waters. As a result, Israeli naval forces arrested 8 fishermen, including a child, and confiscated 3 fishing boats.
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.
The Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip coincided with the restrictions imposed to tighten on them and prevent them from sailing and fishing. The Israeli authorities did not commit to the limited fishing area of 20 nautical miles according to the 1993 Oslo Agreement. The Israeli authorities targeted their livelihoods and decreased the fishing area into 6 nautical miles at most; it now ranges between 3-6 nautical miles. as a result, fishermen were denied access to the areas, where fish breeds.
Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip
During the reporting period, PCHR documented 18 shooting incidents against Palestinian fishermen sailing within the allowed fishing area off the shores of the northern Gaza Strip and Gaza City. As a result, 4 fishermen were wounded and a fishing boat was damaged. Due to Israeli gunboats chasing the Palestinian fishing boats, 8 fishermen were arrested, including a child, and 3 boats were confiscated. The Israeli violations during the reporting period were as follows:
- At approximately 07:40 on 01 November 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of al-Wahah Resort, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats and then surrounded two of them sailing within 4 nautical miles. Those boats belonging to Khalil Muhsen Abu Riyalah and Khalil Hasan Abu Riyalah were manned by Mohammed Khalil Abu Riyalah (35); Shaher Muhsen Abu Riyalah (20); Khalid Khalid Abu Riyalah (22); ‘Ali Hasan Khalil Abu Riyalah (19); His brother Belal (14) and Hasan ‘Abdel Rahman Hasan Abu Sam’an (20). All of the abovementioned fishermen are from al-Shati’ refugee camp in Gaza City. The Israeli naval soldiers ordered the six fishermen to take off their clothes, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. They were then arrested while their boats and 55 nets were kept in custody. At approximately 21:00 on the same day, Israeli forces released the abovementioned fishermen via Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing, while their boats are so far in the Israeli custody. It was found out that Shaher Abu Riyalah was hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet to the left waist; ‘Ali Abu Riyalah was hit with a rubber-coated metal bullet to the abdomen and Mohamed Abu Riyalah, was hit with two rubber-coated metal bullets to the knees.
- At approximately 05:30 on 07 November 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniya shore, west of Jabalia refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 2 nautical miles and chased them. Israeli gunboats chased a fishing boat belonging to Yousef ‘Adel Abu Riyalah while opening fire at him and spraying wastewater as well. As a result, a fisherman, Mahmoud ‘Adel Abu Riyalah (18), fainted because of the wastewater. He was then taken to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City to receive medical treatment.
- At approximately 17:00 on 15 November 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, northwest of al-Wahah shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. Two Israeli gunboats surrounded a fishing boat belonging to As’ad Mohammed al-Sultan, which was manned by his sons Abdul Hafez (37) and Ammar (23), both from al-Salateen neighbourhood in Beit Lahia. The boat was sailing nearly 500 meters offshore and about 1500 meters away from the northern maritime boundary with Israel. The Israeli soldiers ordered the abovementioned fishermen to take off their clothes, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. They then confiscated the boat in addition to the fishing nets and then took the detained fishermen to Ashdod port. At approximately 01:00 on Wednesday, 16 November 2016, Israeli authorities released Ammar al-Sultan through Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing while kept his brother Abdul Hafez and the boat in custody.
Table (1): Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Fishermen in the Gaza Strip in November 2016
|Shooting||Injuries||Number of Detainees||Confiscation of Fishing Boats||Damaging Fishing Equipment|