The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) published a new report titled “Israeli Attacks against the Palestinian Fishermen”, which is part of a series of periodic reports since 2000.
This report monitors and documents the Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea from 01 November 2017 to 30 April 2019, including (434) shooting incidents against the Palestinian fishermen while at sea. As a result, (2) fishermen were killed, (22) fishermen were wounded, and (15) fishing boats sustained damage. Furthermore, the chase incidents of fishing boats resulted in the arrest of (121) fishermen, confiscation of (25) fishing boats and fishing nets belonging to the Palestinian fishermen.
This report also highlights the continued naval blockade and denying fishermen access to areas where fish breed. The report also confirms that these Israeli restrictions have led to deterioration of the economic and social conditions for at least (4000) fishermen and (1000) of those working in the fishing field.
According to the report, Since April 2019, the intermittent expansion of the fishing area in the Gaza Sea was from 6 to 15 nautical miles did not make a big difference for the fishermen, particularly in terms of increasing fish production. This goes back to many reasons, including the ongoing Israeli attacks against the Palestinian fishermen inside the allowed fishing area, and the continued restrictions imposed on the entry of fishing equipment. And also, the expansion of the allowed fishing areas was limited only to the poor fish breeding areas.
The report also confirms that the Israeli government continues to impose restrictions on the entry of the equipment and tools need for fishing, including engines, gears, fiberglass, steel cables, and spare parts, claiming that these items are “dual-use” according to the Israeli classification. As a result, tens of the fishing boat manufacturing and maintenance workshops closed.
This report concludes that the Israeli attacks against the Palestinian fishermen violate the international humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention. Further, the Israeli policy of tightening restrictions on fishermen is a form of collective punishment, which is prohibited under the international humanitarian law, and targets civilians and their livelihoods.
In the report, PCHR calls upon the international community and the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to intervene immediately and pressurize the Israeli forces in order to stop all violations against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip and to allow them to sail and fish freely in the regional waters of the Gaza Strip. PCHR also calls upon the International and humanitarian organizations to provide fishermen with the necessary financial and technical support.