During the reporting period (01- 31 December 2016), Israeli Naval forces continued to carry out attacks on Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip sailing within the allowed fishing areas. PCHR documented 8 shooting incidents. Moreover, PCHR documented Israeli gunboats chasing fishing boats in the Gaza Strip waters. As a result, Israeli naval forces arrested 6 fishermen and confiscated 2 fishing boats and net.
Violations of the International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law
Israel’s attacks against Palestinian fishermen, who do not pose any threat to Israeli soldiers, in the Gaza Strip constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, relevant to the protection of the civilian population and respect for its rights, including every person’s right to work, and the right to life, liberty and security of person, as codified in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), despite the fact that Israel is a State Party to the Covenant. Furthermore, these attacks occurred in a time where the fishers did not pose any threat to the Israeli naval troops, as they were doing their job to secure a living.
The Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip coincided with the restrictions imposed to tighten on them and prevent them from sailing and fishing. The Israeli authorities did not commit to the limited fishing area of 20 nautical miles according to the 1993 Oslo Agreement. The Israeli authorities targeted their livelihoods and decreased the fishing area into 6 nautical miles at most; it now ranges between 3-6 nautical miles. As a result, fishermen were denied access to the areas, where fish breeds.
Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip
During the reporting period, PCHR documented 8 shooting incidents against Palestinian fishermen sailing within the allowed fishing area off the shores of the northern Gaza Strip, Khan Younis and Rafah. The shootings occurred within the allowed fishing area. Due to Israeli gunboats chasing the Palestinian fishing boats, 6 fishermen were arrested and 2 boats and fishing equipment were confiscated. The Israeli violations during the reporting period were as follows:
- At approximately 11:00 on 04 December 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed northwest of al-Wahah shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. Three Israeli large gunboats surrounded a fishing boat belonging to Tawfiq Mustafa Ahmed al-Sultan (41). The boat was manned by the aforementioned civilian’s brothers; Shafiq (27) and Sa’di (31), form al-Salatin neighbourhood. They were sailing within 800 meters offshore. The navy soldiers ordered the fishermen to take off their clothes, jump into the water and swim towards the Israeli gunboat. They arrested the fishermen and confiscated their boat and pieces of fishing net. At approximately 21:00, the Israeli authorities released Sa’di while Shafiq was released on 22 December 2016.
- At approximately 06:00 on 06 December 2016, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Wahah shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. The gunboats surrounded a fishing boat sailing within 4 nautical miles. It was manned by Majed Fadel Hasan Baker (55); his son ‘Omran (32); Mohammed Ziyad Hasan Baker (31) and Khalil Jawhar Khalil Baker (26), all of them are from al-Shati’ refugee camp. The soldiers ordered the fishermen to take off their clothes, jump into the water and swim towards the Israeli gunboat. The soldiers arrested them and confiscated their boat and fishing nets. At approximately 21:00, the Israeli authorities released the fishermen.
Table (1): Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Fishermen in the Gaza Strip in 2016
|Month||Shelling||Firing||Injuries||Arrest Incidents||Number of Detainees||Confiscation of Fishing equipment||Damaging Fishing Equipment|
|May||1||16||2(including a child)||9||29||11||2|
|July||–||4||–||3||12(including a child)||3||1|
|August||–||18||–||6||17 (including 2 children)||5||1|
|September||–||6||1||1||6 (including 2 children)||1||1|