Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinian fishermen off Gaza coast

April 26, 2016 8:16 P.M. (Updated: April 27, 2016 2:09 P.M.)


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained two Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the Gaza fishermen committee said.
The head of the Gaza fishermen committee, Zakariya Bakr, told Ma'an that Israeli naval forces opened fire at fishing boats off the coast of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.Bakr added that Israeli forces then detained fishermen Aahed Ziyad Zayid and Munis al-Abed Zayid and confiscated their boats before taking them to an unknown location.No injuries were reported in the incident, Bakr said.An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports.Earlier on Tuesday, witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli naval forces fired live ammunition at fishermen working off the coast of al-Zahra area of central Gaza, without causing any injuries.The Israeli military enters Palestinian areas on both land and sea sides of the Gaza Strip on a near-daily basis, often putting Palestinian fishermen and farmers -- and their livelihoods -- at risk.While Israeli authorities this month expanded the fishing zone designated for Palestinian fishermen to nine nautical miles in the southern Gaza Strip, and retained the six mile zone in the north, fishermen regularly report detentions, live fire, and boat confiscation within these limits.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has documented over 40 instances of Israeli incursions into the Gaza border area this month alone.

Israeli forces open fire on fishermen, level land in Gaza

April 26, 2016 10:22 A.M. (Updated: April 26, 2016 4:22 P.M.)


GAZA (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces on Tuesday opened fire on Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip as military forces leveled Palestinian land on the borderline with Israel, locals said.
Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli naval forces fired live ammunition at fishermen working off the coast of al-Zahra area of central Gaza. No injuries were reported.In the eastern area of the besieged enclave, locals said Israeli bulldozers entered Palestinian land near al-Shujaiyya and leveled the area.An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports.The Israeli military enters Palestinian areas on both land and sea sides of the Gaza Strip on a near-daily basis, often putting Palestinian fishermen and farmers -- and their livelihoods -- at risk.While Israeli authorities this month expanded the fishing zone designated for Palestinian fishermen to nine nautical miles in the southern Gaza Strip, and retained the six mile zone in the north, fishermen regularly report detentions, live fire, and boat confiscation within these limits.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has documented over 40 instances of Israeli incursions into the Gaza border area this month alone.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinian fishermen off Gazan coast

April 24, 2016 1:00 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2016 5:08 P.M.)

 
GAZA (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces on Sunday morning detained two Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip and seized their fishing boat, local sources told Ma'an.
Locals told Ma'an that Israeli naval forces opened fire on fishing boats, and detained Oranus al-Sultan and Ibrahim al-Sultan and took them to an unknown location. The sources added that Israeli forces seized fishing equipment and the boat.
As part of Israel's near-decade long blockade of the coastal enclave since 2007, Palestinian fishermen have been required to work within a limited "designated fishing zone" off the coast, which was recently extended to nine nautical miles.
Israeli forces regularly detain Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Gaza working within the fishing zone, generally for alleged security reasons.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Israeli forces detained 71 fishermen and confiscated 22 fishing boats throughout 2015.
The center said that Israeli naval forces also opened fire on Palestinian fishermen at least 139 times over the course of the year, wounding 24 and damaging 16 fishing boats.
"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 center said.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Palestinian fisherman shot, 3 detained off Gaza coast

April 19, 2016 10:35 A.M. (Updated: April 19, 2016 5:35 P.M.)

AFP/File
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces shot and injured a Palestinian fisherman and detained three others off the coast Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip early Tuesday, sources saidHead of the fishermen’s union Nizar Ayyash told Ma’an the forces opened fire on the fishermen while they were working at sea within the nine-mile fishing zone designated by the Israeli authorities.The injured fisherman was released by the naval forces and taken to the hospital for medical treatment while three others were detained, Ayyash said.An Israeli spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports.Israel early this month loosened severe seaside restrictions on Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave, extending the military-enforced designated fishing zone by three nautical miles off the southern coast of the Gaza Strip.The Gaza Strip has been under a crippling blockade since 2007 and has enforced “buffer zone” along land and sea borders for alleged security purposes. The zone is generally enforced by live fire, putting the lives of both fishermen and farmers at risk on a near-daily basis, ultimately devastating agricultural and fishing sectors of the strip’s already-withered economy.While Israel typically cites security concerns when targeting Palestinian fishermen, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights has reported in the past that fishermen are often targeted when they pose no threat.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

IDF fires on Gaza fishermen despite expanded fishing zone

 972mag.com

One Palestinian fisherman is reportedly wounded by Israeli navy fire, four are arrested and their boats seized. The size of the zone where Israel allows Gazans to fish changes at the whims of Israeli military commanders and politicians, who have in the past openly discussed how they use it as collective punishment.

By Haggai Matar and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man

Fisherman reel in their nets off the shore of the Gaza Strip. File photo. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)
Fisherman reel in their nets off the shore of the Gaza Strip. File photo. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)
The Israeli navy opened fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip Saturday morning. No injuries were reported.

On Friday Israeli naval forces arrested four Palestinian fishermen off the southern Gaza coast. Israel released three of the four men Saturday morning. The fourth, who was reportedly wounded by naval gunfire, was expected to be released later in the day.

According to witnesses cited by both the Ma’an and Wafa news agencies, both incidents took place within the designated fishing zone.

Earlier this week the Israeli army expanded the area in which it permits Palestinians to fish from six to nine nautical miles off the coast. Palestinians are still not allowed to venture more than six nautical miles off the coast in the northern half of the Strip.

The limitations affect the amount and types of fish that can be caught, and results in overfishing within the permitted areas.

A Palestinian fisherman and his son sell their catch in the Gaza City fish market. File photo. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)
A Palestinian fisherman and his son sell their catch in the Gaza City fish market. File photo. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)
According to the Oslo Accords which created the systems that defined the mechanisms according to which the Israeli military rules Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, Israel agreed to allow fishermen in Gaza to operate freely in a zone extending 20 nautical miles off the coast.

The Israeli army has not abided by that commitment for the past decade. Israeli authorities first shrunk the zone to 10 nautical miles, then three nautical miles. As part of a cease-fire agreement with Hamas after the 2014 Gaza war, however, Israel agreed to expand the zone to six nautical miles.
The size of the permitted fishing zone changes at the whim of Israeli military commanders and politicians, who have in the past openly discussed how they use it as collective punishment against civilians in response to rocket fire from armed groups. Sometimes Israeli naval forces simply announce via loudspeakers that they are reducing the size of the zone on a given day.

Palestinian fishermen regularly report that Israeli naval forces harass them, shoot at them, and seize their boats well within the authorized zone. Even when the army admits shooting Palestinian fishermen inside the zone, nobody is held accountable.

Illustrative photo of s sailor in the Israeli navy manning a machine gun. (IDF Spokesperson)
Illustrative photo of s sailor in the Israeli navy manning a machine gun. (IDF Spokesperson)
There were at least 139 incidents in which Israeli military forces fired on Palestinian fishermen in 2015, wounding at least 24 fishermen and damaging at least 16 fishing boats, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). An additional six incidents involved artillery shells. The IDF arrested at least 71 fishermen and seized 22 boats in the same period.

Israel’s decade-old siege on the Gaza Strip, reinforced by Egypt, is enforced through a military blockade on Gaza’s land and sea borders, full control of the Strip’s airspace and the destruction of its only airport. Despite the fact that Israel pulled its troops out of Gaza in 2005 the army still controls the Strip’s currency (the new Israeli shekel), the population registry, large parts of the electricity and water grids, all imports and exports, and decides who may enter and exit through the only regularly open passenger border crossing.

Furthermore, the Israeli army still controls movement inside the Gaza Strip. Israeli troops maintain a no-go zone several hundred meters from the border fence. Palestinian farmers and protesters who enter the no-go zone, which comprises a significant portion of Gaza’s arable land, are regularly fired upon and sometimes killed.

Earlier this year +972 revealed that the army had begun spraying herbicides and germination inhibitors inside the Gaza Strip, damaging some 420 acres of Palestinian-owned crops. The army also regularly enters the Gaza Strip in order to clear brush and other obstacles to its line of sight which it claims Palestinian militants can use to launch attacks against Israeli troops.

The Israeli army also restricts the cellular internet speeds residents of the Gaza Strip may enjoy. The army decides with whom Gaza businesses may conduct trade, including whether they can trade with other Palestinians in the West Bank, what goods they may trade, and every other aspect of imports and exports.

A shorter version of this article first appeared in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Israeli forces detain 2 Palestinian fishermen off Gaza coast

April 8, 2016 12:43 A.M. (Updated: April 8, 2016 12:43 A.M.)


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces on Thursday detained two Palestinian fishermen off the Gazan coast for allegedly heading beyond the designated nine-nautical-mile fishing zone.
Amjad al-Sharafi, an official with the fishermen's union, told Ma'an that Israeli boats detained the fishermen, identified as Iyad Allun and Raed Abu Odeh, off the coast of Khan Younis and left their boat drifting at sea before it was towed back to shore by other fishermen. 
Israeli forces regularly detain Palestinian fisherman off the coast of Gaza claiming they went beyond the designated fishing zone, which was recently extended from six to nine nautical miles.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Israeli forces detained 71 fishermen and confiscated 22 fishing boats throughout 2015.
The center said that Israeli naval forces also opened fire on Palestinian fishermen at least 139 times over the course of the year, wounding 24 and damaging 16 fishing boats.
"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 center said.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Israeli naval forces detain 14 Palestinian fishermen, seize boats


Dec. 22, 2015 10:57 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 22, 2015 7:36 P.M.) 
 
Palestinian fishermen collect their catch off the coast of Gaza City on July 6, 2014 (AFP/Mahmud Hams, File)
 
GAZA (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces early Tuesday detained 14 Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip near Beit Lahiya and seized their boats, local officials said.
 
Palestinian security sources told Ma'an that Amjad Zayed, Sami al-Sultan, and two other fishermen who were not identified were detained by naval forces after their fishing boat was confiscated.
 
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the syndicate of Gaza fishermen, Nizar Ayyash, told Ma'an that Israeli naval boats had escorted other fishermen in their boats to the Israeli port of Ashdod, north of Gaza.Ayyash said 10 had been detained, identifying them as Atif Ahid Bakir and his son Muhib Atif Bakir, Muhammad Ahid Bakir, Mahmoud Zuheir al-Ashwah, Yusri Miqdad, Khalil Bahjat Bakir, Bahjat Khalil Bakir, Shadi Jihad Bakir, Hasan Zaki Bakir and Muhammad Jamal Bakir.
 
It was not clear if the 14 fishermen were detained in separate incidents.
 
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that naval forces on Tuesday opened fire into the air after calling on “two vessels that deviated from the designated fishing zone” to halt.
 
After the vessels "refused to halt," they were "escorted" to a nearby port, where the spokesperson said the forces would decide whether or not to confiscate the vessels.
 
Israeli-imposed blockade on the territory forces fishermen to work within a limited "designated fishing zone" off the coast of the besieged enclave, but Israeli naval forces frequently shoot at fishermen working within these limits, according to documentation by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.
 
Due to high frequency of attacks, live fire at fishing boats often goes unreported.
 
The group recorded at least 117 incidents of forces opening fire on fishermen in the first nine months of 2015, injuring 22 Palestinians.
 
"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 center said.
 
In the same period, at least 15 Palestinian fishermen were detained.
 
Despite Israel's pledge to expand the fishing zone following the war in the summer of 2014, the limits have remained while the over nine-year blockade imposed by Israel has devastated the livelihood of the around 4,000 fishermen living in the coastal enclave.