The Israeli Naval forces have escalated their attacks against the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, prevented them from fishing freely and denying them access to the areas where fish breed. All of this refutes the Israeli authorities’ claims of easing the ongoing naval blockade and expanding the fishing area to 9 nautical miles off the Gaza shore.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 22:15 on Saturday, 01 September 2018, Israeli gunboats stationed off Deir al-Balah Shore in the central Gaza Strip chased a fishing boat belonging to Mohammed Sa’id Abu Riyalah that was sailing within 8 nautical miles and boarded by 6 fishermen. The gunboats surrounded the fishing boat, and the Israeli naval soldiers arrested the 6 fishermen who were identified as Zaki Ibrahim al-Najjar (36); Ahmed Sa’id Abu Riyalah (23); Mahmoud Jihad Abu ‘Odah (31); Mohammed Jihad Abu ‘Odah (42); Jihad Mohammed Abu ‘Odah (21) and Mohammed Bahjat Abu ‘Odah (26).
In a separate incident, at approximately 17:00 on Thursday, 30 August 2018, the Israeli gunboats opened the water cannons at a fishing boat belonging to Nafeth Salah, from Gaza City. The boat was sailing within 3 nautical miles off al-Soudaniyah Shore in the northern Gaza Strip and boarded by two fishermen namely Ahmed Nafeth Salah and his brother Mesbah. As a result, the boat sank while the two fishermen survived. The fishermen then started looking for the boat until it was found at 23:00 around 3.5 nautical miles off the Gaza Seaport.
In light of the above, PCHR strongly condemns the Israeli ongoing attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip. Therefore, PCHR’s:
- 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.
- Calls upon the Israeli authorities to stop chasing the fishermen and enable them to fish freely, especially that they do not pose threat to the Israel authorities; and
- Calls for releasing the arrested fishermen and fishing equipment detained by the Israeli authorities.