October 5th, 2008
On Saturday 4 October two international human rights observers accompanied a Gazan fishing boat in its daily work, important not only for the fishermen’s families but also for the Palestinian economy in general, especially in the besieged Gaza Strip.
When the fishing boat was at about 8 nautical miles from the coast it was intercepted by an Israeli gunboat that began circling it and from loud speakers ordering it to go back. After a request from the captain, one of the internationals talked on the VHF radio making clear that there was an international presence on board.The Gazan fishing boat continued to fish along the Gaza Strip, maintaining the same distance from the shore and the Israeli gunboat gave up trying to threaten it.
Later another Israeli gunboat approached the fishing boat, again after a request of the captain, one of the international human rights workers announced the international presence over the VHF radio and the Israeli gunboat didn’t proceed in any kind of harassment.
But a little bit after noon, people in this fishing boat observed an Israeli gun boat circling another Palestinian fishing boat and shooting very close to it (something which also constitutes a breach of the ceasefire agreement). The attacked fishing boat appeared to have stopped and was fishing roughly 7 nautical miles from shore. Again the internationals were requested to make a call through VHF radio asking the Israeli gunboat to cease its attack. The internationals also filmed part of the incident. The Israeli gunboat continued its harassment for a while but finally it quit.
International human rights workers will continue to accompany Gazan fishermen and monitoring the daily attacks that they suffer from the Israeli Navy.