Ref: 28/2016

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns the Israeli escalation of attacks against fishermen in the Gaza Sea; the last of which was against a group of fishing boats in the northern Gaza Sea.  During this attack, Israeli naval forces arrested 10 fishermen and confiscated 5 fishing boats.  PCHR considers these attacks as part of the collective punishment forms Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and target fishermen’s livelihoods.  PCHR calls upon the International community to intervene to protect Palestinian fishermen and violations against them and direct attacks against them and their property.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 05:40 on Sunday, 22 May 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Wahah shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, heavily opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats.  Two gunboats then surrounded two fishing boats sailing within 1 nautical mile.  One of these boats belongs to Ishaq Mohammed Mohammed Zayed (54) who was on its board at that time along with his two sons, Rasem (29) and Mohammed (19).  Meanwhile, the other fishing boat belongs to Younis Diab Mousa Zayed (53), who was on its board at that time along with his two sons, Saqer (20) and Ayman (18).  The Israeli soldiers ordered all of fishermen on both boats to take off their clothes, jumped into the water and swim towards the two gunboats.  The Israeli soldiers roped the two boats with the gunboats and took them to an unknown destination.

At approximately 06:30 on the same day, two Israeli gunboats surrounded two fishing boats sailing only 300 meters off the shore.  The gunboats then heavily opened fire at the boats; one of which belongs to As’ad Mohammed Mohammed al-Sultan (52) and manned by the owner and Khaled Mahmoud Ahmed al-Sultan while the other belongs to Mahmoud Ahmed ‘Abdullah al-Sultan (47) and was manned by his two sons, Mohammed (23) and Ayman (15).  The Israeli soldiers ordered all of fishermen on both boats to take off their clothes, jumped into the water and swim towards the two gunboats.  The Israeli soldiers roped the two boats with the gunboats and took them to an unknown destination.

At approximately 08:10 on the same day, two Israeli gunboats surrounded a fishing boat sailing within 1 nautical mile after opening fire at it.  This boat belongs to Kamel Adib Mahmoud al-Anqah (64) and was manned at that time with Ahmed Mohammed Mohammed Zayed (32) and his brother Ibrahim (21).  The Israeli soldiers ordered all of fishermen on both boats to take off their clothes, jumped into the water and swim towards the two gunboats.  The Israeli soldiers roped the two boats with the gunboats and took them to an unknown destination.

It should be mentioned that during these attacks, the fishermen lost dozens of their fishing equipment and tools.

PCHR strongly condemns the new Israeli attack against Palestinian fishermen and their property. PCHR also considers that attack as a grave 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 livelihood. 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.

 

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