Israeli naval forces opened fire at a group of fishermen near Zikim Military Base along the coastal border fence in the northern Gaza Strip. As a result, a fisherman was killed due to the Israeli forces’ shooting at the fishermen who were sailing off Beit Lahia shore, northwest of the Gaza Strip. PCHR condemns the Israeli ongoing violations of Gaza Strip fishermen’s rights, including their right to sail and fish freely in the Gaza Sea.
According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 14:30 on Wednesday, 14 November 2018, a group of Palestinian amateur fishermen threw their fishing nets in the Beit Lahia Sea around hundred meters off the northern Gaza Strip shore in front of Israeli Zikim Military Base that is located at the end of the coastal border fence of the northern Gaza strip. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers opened fire at the fishermen, wounding Nawaf Ahmed Mohammed al-‘Attar (23) with a bullet to the pelvis. As a result, a number of fishermen took him outside the water amidist a state of panic and fear and called an ambulance to transfer him to the hospital. The ambulance arrived on the main road in front of the shore and took Nawaf, who passed away few minisutes later after he bled so much. The ambulance then arrived at the Indonensian Hospital in Jabalia refugee camp, where his death was declared. It should be mentioned that the abovementioned group of fishermen who gathered to fish were only amateurs and not registered at the Fishermen’s Syndicate. They were fishing in that area using nets that are only for fishing mullets in its season that coincides this time of the year.
PCHR emphasizes that the attacks by the Israeli naval forces against the fishermen and their livelihoods in the Gaza Strip fall within the collective punishments imposed on the Palestinian civilians. Moreover, PCHR stresses that the ongoing naval blockade on the Gaza Sea violates the rights of Palestinian fishermen to a decent free life and to freely fish and sail according to the International human rights law and international humanitarian law. Thus, PCHR:
- Calls upon the international community to intervene to stop all Israeli violations against fishermen that amount to war crimes under the International humanitarian law;
- Calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. to oblige the Israeli forces in order to respect their legal obligations under the Convention, including the right of fishermen to safety, security and fish freely in the Gaza Sea, and to lift the naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip Sea; and
- 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.