On Saturday, 15 December 2018, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats, wounded a fisherman and arrested him. Moreover, Israeli naval forces chased Palestinian fishing boats, arrested 4 fishermen and detained 2 fishing boats as part of the ongoing Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen and preventing them from freely sailing and accessing the fishing breeding areas.
According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 10:00 on Saturday, 15 December 2018, Israeli gunboats chased a Palestinian fishing boat, which was sailing within 9 nautical miles in Gaza Valley area, and opened fire at it. As a result, a fisherman, Mohammed Falah abu Riyalah (19), from al-Sadr area in Gaza, was wounded. The Israeli gunboats surrounded the fishing boat mentioned above, and the soldiers arrested the injured fisherman, Abu Riyalah, and another fisherman, Mohammed Salah Abu Riyalah (27), from Gaza City, and detained their fishing boat.
In a separate incident, at approximately 09:00 on the same day, Israeli gunboats chased a fishing boat sailing within 8 nautical miles off Gaza Valley shore manned by fishermen Mohammed Saleh Abu Riyalah (28) and ‘Atef Saleh Abu Riyalah (16), from Gaza city. The Israeli naval soldiers ordered both fishermen to stop fishing, arrested them and detained their fishing boat.
It should be mentioned that at approximately 00:00 on Saturday, the Israeli authorities released ‘Atef Salah Abu Riyalah while the 3 other fishermen are so far under arrest and the boats are still in custody.
PCHR emphasizes that the attacks by the Israeli naval forces against the fishermen in the Gaza Strip fall within the collective punishments imposed against the Palestinian civilians. Moreover, PCHR stresses that the decision to reduce the area allowed for fishing violates the right to work recognized by Article (6) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Thus, PCHR:
- 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 compensate them for their losses.
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