The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have continued to escalate their violations against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip.
According to Al Mezan's field investigations, at approximately 6.30am on Monday 6 April 2009, the IOF opened fire at 30 Palestinian fishing boats carrying 60 fishermen, as they headed out to the sea. According to statements made by the fishermen, the boats had not gone beyond a distance of 100 meters from the beach of Beit Lahia town when the IOF gunboats advanced towards them and detained ten fishers, including two children, and confiscated their boats. The rest of the boats managed to flee from the area. The IOF released the ten fishers on 7 April 2009, at approximately 11am and they were transported back to Gaza through Erez crossing. The following fishers were detained:
· Waheeb Jom'ah As-Sultan, 22,
· Mohammed Jom'ah As-sultan, 17,
· Ahmed As'ad As-Sultan, 24,
· Abd Al-Hafeez As'ad As-Sultan, 22,
· Mohammed Adnan As-Sultan, 22,
· Izhaq Mohammed Zayid, 44,
· Nash'at Zayid Zayid, 15,
· Rif'at Zayid Zayid, 19,
· Tareq Kamel Al-Anqah, 20,
· Ahmed Jom'ah Zayid, 35.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the escalation of the IOF offensive against Palestinian fishermen, which constitutes a gross violation of International Humanitarian Law and human rights principles.
Al Mezan would like to highlight the fact that the IOF usually escalates its offensive against Palestinian fishers in the fishing seasons when fish is found abundantly, preventing fishers from benefiting the season and compensating for the large losses caused by the IOF.Al Mezan calls on the international community to intervene and provide protection for Palestinian fishers in the OPT. It also calls on civil society organizations throughout the world to launch solidarity campaigns with the Palestinian fishers and contribute to exposing the systematic and grave violations committed against them by the IOF.