Israeli navy forces opened fire at a fishing boat and then arrested two fishermen on board after forcing them to jump into the water, north of the Gaza Strip. Moreover, Israeli forces confiscated the boat while the two fishermen lost about 500 meters of fishing net they used to fish with. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip waters. Moreover, PCHR calls upon the international community to intervene for the protection of Palestinian fishermen and their right to sail and fish freely in Gaza sea. PCHR also demands stopping all forms of collective punishment against the Palestinian fishermen and their property which constitute a violation of the international humanitarian law and the international human rights law.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 18:30 on Saturday, 07 May 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahiya, north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. An Israeli gunboat surrounded a Palestinian fishing boat belonging to Sharif Mohammed al-Sultan and Ramadan Ghaleb al-Sultan. There were 2 fishermen on board of the aforementioned boat namely Uranus Sharif Mohamed al-Sultan (19) and Mohammed Ghaleb Ramadan al-Sultan (23), both from al-Atatrah neighborhood in Beit Lahiya. They were sailing about 300 meters off the seashore. Israeli soldiers forced Uranus and Mohammed to take their clothes off, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. They then arrested the two fishermen, confiscated their boat and took them to Ashdod seaport where Israeli forces detained and interrogated them. At approximately 00:30 on Sunday, 08 May April 2016, Uranus and Mohammed were released. They said to a PCHR fieldworker that they lost 10 pieces of the fishing nets (about 500 meters) in the sea.
It should be mentioned that Israeli navy forces escalated their attacks against Palestinian fishermen in Gaza waters. PCHR has documented 47 attacks against Palestinian fishermen and their property in Gaza water since the beginning of this year, including 6 shelling incidents; 24 shooting incidents that resulted in the injury of 5 fishermen; 6 incidents in which fishing tools were damaged; 9 incidents of boat confiscation of and 9 arrest incidents that resulted in the arrest of 35 fishermen.
PCHR strongly condemns the new Israeli attack against the two fishermen. PCHR considers that attack as a clear violation of the fishermen’s right to sail and fish freely and to protect their property in the Gaza waters. Moreover, PCHR believes that such attacks against Palestinian fishermen constitute a form of collective punishment against them which aims to target fishermen and their livelihoods. It should be noted that no charges were proved against the two fishermen after interrogation. Furthermore, PCHR calls upon the international community to provide protection for Palestinian fishermen and their right to sail and fish freely, and to stop all forms of collective punishment against fishermen and their property which violate the international humanitarian law and the international human rights law.