Thursday, 29 December 2011 00:00
On Wednesday, 29 December 2011, the Israeli navy attacked the Oliva Boat, which monitors the situation at Gaza seashore, and Palestinian fishing boats who were fishing in the sea.
According to Mr. Mahfouz al-Kabariti, Chairman of the Palestinian Association for Fishing and Marine Sports, at 11:00 on Wednesday, 28 December 2011, an Israeli gunboat got close to Palestinian fishing boats and the Oliva Boat, while they were approximately two nautical miles off the seashore, as the Israeli navy allow Palestinian fishing within a distance of 3 nautical miles from the seashore. Al-Kabariti stated that the Oliva was monitoring Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen at the Gaza seashore. An Israeli gunboat got close to it and attacked 6 times. The Israeli naval troops ordered two Italian solidarity activists and the captain who were on board of the boat to sail back, claiming that the boat sailed beyond the 3-nautical mile distance, while the boat’s GPS measured the distance at two nautical miles only. The captain was providing the boat with fuel when the Israeli navy attacked the boat. The Israeli navy used water hoses against the boat, which almost made it capsize. An Italian solidarity activist, Rosa Schiano, who was on board of Oliva, stated that she called in vain to the Israeli naval troops to stop attempting to turn the boat over. As a result of the attack, Oliva’s captain, Mushtaq Zaidan, from Gaza City, fell and injured his leg. Palestinian fishermen in the area were able to help him, and to pull the Oliva back to the shore.
It is worth noting that Oliva started its work on 20 April 2011 under the umbrella of the Spanish Civil Peace Service. It carried out the first monitoring mission in the Gaza Strip on 8 June 2011. The project is aimed at monitoring and documenting Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen while fishing, which constitute a violation of international law and amount to possible war crimes. PCHR, the Palestinian Association for Fishing and Marine Sports, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and the Coordination Committee of Popular Resistance participate in the project, which is sponsored by dozens of local and international organizations. The monitoring team includes international solidarity activists from Italy, Sweden, USA and the UK.
PCHR condemns the continuous attacks by the Israeli Navy against Palestinian fishing boats, and the attack against the Oliva, which monitors the human rights situation in Gaza’s seawaters. PCHR calls upon the international community:
1. To intervene to stop Israeli violations of international humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, including measures aimed at preventing the work of Palestinian fishermen;
2. To act to stop the Israeli Navy’s attacks against the Oliva boat, which carries out a peaceful civil mission and aims– with entirely legal tools – to ensure the Palestinian fishermen the possibility of working in safe conditions;3. To force Israel to immediately lift the illegal closure imposed on the Gaza Strip, including the naval blockade restricting fishing to 3 nautical miles from the seashore, and to allow Palestinian fishermen to work freely.