On Tuesday, 01 January 2018, Israeli gunboats chased and opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. They then arrested 2 fishermen and detained a fishing boat. This is part of the Israeli ongoing attacks against Palestinian fishermen and preventing them from sailing and fishing freely and accessing the fish-breeding areas in Gaza Sea.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 10:00 on Tuesday, 01 January 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Wahah Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, chased fishing boats sailing within 6 nautical miles and opened fire at them. A gunboat then intercepted a fishing boat manned by ‘Isa Ahmed Jamil al-Shrafi (68) and his son, Basil (28), who are both from al-Shati’ refugee camp in western Gaza City. The Israeli naval soldiers then ordered the fishermen to take off their clothes, jump into the water and swain towards the gunboat. They were arrested and taken to Ashdod Seaport in addition to detaining the fishing boat. At approximately 22:00 on the same day, the Israeli authorities released the two fishermen via Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing after interrogating them while the boat is so far under custody.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) emphasizes that the Israeli naval forces’ attacks on the fishermen in the Gaza Strip are part the collective punishment policy against the Palestinian civilians and violate the right to work according to 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 fishing boats and equipment detained by them and compensate Palestinian fishermen for their losses due to the Israeli attacks.