Thursday, October 9, 2008

ISM Gaza: Israel continues to breach ceasefire agreement with attacks on fishermen

October 9th, 2008
On Wednesday 8th October, international Human Rights Workers (HRWs) accompanied Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza.
In the morning, while sailing about 7 nautical miles from shore, Israeli gunboats approached the Palestinian fishing boats. After request from Palestinian captain, one of the internationals talked on VHF radio. Despite that fact, Israeli gunboats continued to harass the fishing boats and at some point fired shots (something which also constitutes a breach of the ceasefire agreement).
In the afternoon while sailing always at about 7 nautical miles from shore, internationals observed an Israeli gunboat sailing between 3 Palestinian fishing boats. When the fishing boat that the internationals were on approached the area, again the captain requested one of the internationals talk on VHF radio to make clear that there was international presence on board. The fishing boat continued its course, but later it was intercepted by another Israeli gunboat. After following the fishing boat for sometime, the Israeli gunboat started to sail in front of it and shooting with its machine-gun several meters in front of fishing boat’s bow.
In the middle of the fishing day, we realised that a giant turtle was blocked in our nets. Unlike others, the fishermen of Gaza do not kill when it is not absolutely necessary. The rare sea turtle was immediately assisted back to the sea, free and alive.
After sunset, the internationals again observed an Israeli gunboat sailing without using their lights (apart from a strong spotlight) in clear violation of international nautical law.