Saturday, June 23, 2012

Israeli gunboats 'shell Gaza beach'

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli gunboats shelled a beach in northern Gaza late Thursday night, witnesses said.

The shelling caused two explosions but not injuries were reported, a Ma'an correspondent said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman was not immediately familiar with the incident.

The military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it fired four rockets from Gaza on Friday.

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades said it launched two rockets toward Ashkelon, one at the Sufa crossing area and another at Meftahim, east of Khan Younis.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said two rockets landed in southern Israel, causing no injuries.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Israeli forces detain 6 fishermen off Gaza coast

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained six fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night, a local official said.

Mahfouz al-Kabariti, Chairman of the Palestinian Association for Fishing and Marine Sports, said in a statement that Israeli troops detained six fishermen from three boats near Beit Lahiya.

He identified those detained as Hatem Abu Wardeh, Fadel Abu Wardeh, Mahmud Abu Wardeh, Mohamad Khaleh, Noman al-Saksik, and Abed Sobhi Saad Allah.

The incident was Israel's 14th attack on fishermen over the last month, Kabariti said.

An Israeli military spokesman did not return a call seeking comment.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gaza Fishermen; Testimonies from the Siege

Three Gaza fishermen talk about fishing, supporting their families, and the siege on Gaza.

Witnesses: Israeli navy fires at Gaza fishing boats

Under Israel's maritime blockade, Palestinians are forbidden from
fishing more than three nautical miles from the coast.

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel's navy fired at Palestinian fishermen off Gaza's coast on Sunday, witnesses said.

No injuries were reported.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that a fishing boat had deviated from the designated fishing area, and after failing to respond to orders to return, warning shots were fired in the air.

The incident took place in the north west of Gaza, locals said.

Under Israel's maritime blockade, Palestinians are forbidden from fishing more than three nautical miles from the coast.

During the Oslo accords negotiators had agreed on 20 nautical miles of fishing access along Gaza's coastline.

Friday, June 15, 2012

VIDEO: Israeli navy attacks Oliva human rights boat

The Israeli navy attacks the Gaza-based 'Oliva' human rights monitoring boat with a water cannon and chases them into the Israeli-imposed 'buffer zone'. They then tell the crew and captain to stand at the front of the boat to be 'arrested' because they had crossed into the no-go zone.

Three Fishermen Kidnapped In Gaza

Friday June 15, 2012 11:33 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

The Israeli Navy kidnapped, late on Thursday evening, three Palestinian fishermen, while in Palestinian territorial waters, close to the Gaza shore, the Palestinian Fishermen Syndicate reported.
Illustration Photo - File
Illustration Photo - File
The Syndicate said that an Israeli Navy chased the fishermen's boat and fired several rounds of live ammunition before boarding it, and kidnapping the fishermen.

The three were taken to an unknown destination, while the boat was towed and confiscated.

On Thursday, the army fired a number of shells into al-Kurd Hill, located between al-Qarara town, near the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, and Dir al-Balah city, in central Gaza.

On Wednesday, 13 June 2012, the Israeli Navy attacked the Oliva Boat, which monitors the situation off the Gaza coast, and held a fishing boat in Rafah waters in the southern Gaza Strip with 2 fishermen on board.

The navy released the international boat after attacking its crew with water hoses. They also released the 2 fishermen after several hours of detention at the Ashdod Harbor inside Israel, but confiscated their fishing boat.

The boat 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.

Israeli Navy Attacks Oliva Boat and Holds another Boat in Gaza Waters


Thursday, 14 June 2012 12:00
Ref: 65/2012

On Wednesday, 13 June 20112, the Israeli Navy attacked Oliva Boat, which monitors the situation off the Gaza coast, and held a fishing boat in Rafah waters in the southern Gaza Strip with 2 fishermen on board.  The navy  released the international boat after attacking its crew with water hoses in an attempt to sink it.  They also released the 2 fishermen after several hours of detention at the Ashdod Harbor inside Israel, but confiscated their fishing boat. 

According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 07:20 on Wednesday, 13 June 2012, the Oliva Boat sailed from Gaza Harbor towards the west.  The crew on board the boat comprised of: Rosa Schiano, an Italian citizen; Rugaya Ezzedien, a British journalist; and Captain Salah Ammar.  At approximately 08:00, the boat came within a few hundred meters of the floats placed by the Israeli Navy in Gazan waters to restrict the area of fishing for Palestinian fishermen, which cannot exceed 3 nautical miles from the seashore. 

Journalist Rugaya Ezzedien stated to PCHR that the boat’s crew started to carry out its normal activities, and that it was nearly 1.5 nautical miles to the south of an Israeli gunboat.  She added that the captain of the boat sailed southwards, nearly half a nautical mile from a Palestinian fishing boat.  She heard sounds of shooting.  At approximately 08:40, she saw the Israeli gunboat moving fast towards Oliva Boat.  When it came close to the Oliva Boat, it sailed around the boat fast and fired water hoses on the Oliva Boat. 

The crew of Oliva Boat requested the Israeli naval troops stop this attack, and stated that they were not positing any threat.  An Israeli soldier replied in Hebrew: “Shut up!”  The Israeli naval troops forced the captain of Oliva Boat to sail to the far north of Gaza waters, and then ordered him to stop.  They then forced the crew to stand on the front of the boat.  They informed members of the crew of the Oliva Boat that they would arrest them.  After making radio communications, the Israeli naval troops allowed the boat to leave.  An Israeli soldier said to the Oliva’s captain: “This is the last warning.  Next time I will not be decent, and you know what I mean.”  The Oliva Boat then sailed back to Gaza Harbor. 

On Wednesday evening, the Israeli Navy attacked a Palestinian fishing boat in the Rafah waters of the Gaza Strip.  Mohammed Aziz Bakr (26) and Mahmoud Aziz Bakr (28), both from Gaza City, were on board the boat, which was sailing nearly 2.5 nautical miles from the seashore.  Israeli naval troops arrested the 2 fishermen and pulled the fishing boat towards the Ashdod Harbor inside Israel.  The 2 fishermen were detained for several hours and were questioned.  They were released later, but their boat remains in custody. 

These latest attacks are part of a series of attacks by the Israeli Navy against Palestinian fishermen and their property in the Gaza Strip, which have notably escalated since the beginning of this year.  Since the beginning of this year, PCHR has documented 54 Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen, including 31 cases of shooting.  PCHR has also documented 12 cases of detention and pursuit of fishermen, during which 30 fishermen were arrested.  Additionally, 11 fishing boats have been held by the Israeli Navy.

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.  This project is aimed at monitoring and documenting Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen while fishing, which constitutes a violation of international law and amounts to possible war crimes.  PCHR, Fishing and Naval Sports Association, 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, the USA and the UK. 

PCHR condemns the continuous attacks by the Israeli Navy against Palestinian fishing boats and the attack against Oliva, which monitors the human rights situation in Gaza’s sea.  PCHR calls upon the international community:

1. To intervene to stop Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention, including measures aimed at preventing the work of Palestinian fishermen;
2. To act to stop the Israeli Navy’s attacks against Oliva Boat, which carries out a peaceful civil mission and aims– with absolutely legal tools – to ensure that Palestinian fishermen have the possibility of working in safe conditions; and
3. To force Israel to immediately lift the illegal siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, including the marine blockade, and allow Palestinian fishermen to work freely.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Israeli Navy Attacks International Monitoring Boat


By Ruqaya Izzedien

At 8:40am, on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012, an Israeli warship attacked international observers, a journalist and the Palestinian captain of the Civil Peace Service Gaza (CPSGAZA) boat Oliva, in an attempt to harm the crew members and threaten them with arrest.
"We were behind the buoy that Israel put out at sea to mark the three mile limit and they attacked us with heavy water cannons for half an hour, chasing us towards the northen nautical border, " said Rosa Schiano, an Italian observer. "Then they accused us of crossing the border, when they had forcibly chased us in that direction. "
Ruqaya Izzedien, a British journalist who accompanied the mission, is available for media questions or interviews. Her attached photo may be used with attribution.
The Oliva was near one fishing boat within three nautical miles of the shore when an Israeli warship drew closer and began circling around the boat, chasing it towards Gaza's north coast. The warship soon attacked the Oliva with a water cannon, causing the boat to fill up with water. The crew stated that they did not pose any danger and asked the warship to stop firing water. A soldier replied: "Shut up".
The warship ordered the Oliva to shut down its motor, and its crew to stand in the front of the boat. When they asked whether they were being arrested, a soldier replied: "We'll take all of you". Finally, radio commanders decided alternately and the Oliva and its crew were allowed to sail away. "This is your last warning. Next time we won't be as nice, if you know what I mean", a soldier added as the Oliva prepared to leave.
While the Oliva was under attack, the CPSGAZA land team observed the Israeli navy simultaneously attacking Palestinian fishermen west of the Gaza Seaport. The fishermen were targeted by live gunfire and wake washed.

Ruqaya Izzedien is a British journalist speaking English and Arabic


[ 13/06/2012 - 05:17 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli navy gunboats intercepted on Wednesday the “Olivia” boat, which carries international solidarity activists monitoring Israeli violations against Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza coast.
Amjad Al-Shawa, a member of the international solidarity movement, told Quds Press that an Israeli gunboat opened water cannons at “Olivia” while accompanying Palestinian fishing boats, which partially damaged it.

Fact Sheet: Gaza Victims of Israel’s Five-Year Closure of Gaza: Fishermen, 14 June 2012

Al Mezan


Israel’s militarily enforced closure of the Gaza Strip is closing its fifth year and Gaza’s fishermen continue to suffer at the hands of this brutal, illegal, and inhumane policy.  The closure regime’s policy includes a naval blockade under which Gaza fishermen are only permitted to fish within a narrow zone limited to three nautical miles.  This policy violates international laws requiring an occupying power to ensure the way of life and the rights of occupied peoples are not disrupted.  It further violates the Oslo Accords, which stipulate that Gaza fishermen be granted access to a zone of the sea expanding 20 nautical miles from the shore. In 2002, the Israeli military reduced the permitted fishing zone to 12 nautical miles. In 2006, the fishing zone was reduced to 6 nautical miles.  Ultimately, after Israel’s military incursion of 2009, codenamed “Operation Cast Lead,” the Israeli military set in place the policy that is still in force today: the reduction of the Gazan fishing zone to only 3 nautical miles.  

Download File

Report: Euro-Mid documents ongoing harassment of Gaza fishermen; calls for international action

Reports           27 May 2012     Palestine
Geneva - Palestinian fishermen trying to eke out a living in Gaza are continuing to be harassed by the Israeli military, destroying an industry that once supported more than 70,000 residents of the poverty-stricken enclave, according to a new report from Euro-Mid Observer for Human rights.
Between January 2011 and the end of April 2012, the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights documented approximately 150 incidents in which the Israeli Navy prevented Gazan fishermen from plying their trade – including 60 arrests at sea, 12 injuries and 20 cases of sabotage or confiscation of boats and fishing gear. Many of the fishermen and their passengers are subjected to degrading and inhumane treatment, such as forced immersion while naked in the sea under harsh weather conditions. Many also report being pressured to provide “intelligence” against co-workers and community members under threat of harm to their relatives, and sometimes even torture while detained for days or months.
Although an agreement between the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority signed in 1993 guaranteed Gazans the right to fish up to 20 nautical miles from their shores, the Israeli military has gradually reduced the safe area.
The terms of the 1993 Oslo agreement called for a fishing zone of 20 nautical miles from Gaza’s shore. However, since the year 2000, with the beginning of the second Intifada, the Israeli military has imposed increasing restrictions on fishermen’s access to the sea. When the Israeli military unleashed “Operation Cast Lead” at the end of 2008, fishing – or any other presence in the water – was prohibited beyond three miles, a crippling restriction that has remained in effect until the present. Since the richest shoals are found between 5-8 nautical miles from Gaza’s shoreline, the shrinking fishing space has resulted in overfishing in shallow, coastal waters and the depletion of fish breeding grounds. Thousands of fishermen have thus been forced to abandon the industry.
“These restrictions and retributions against Gazans simply trying to support their families is collective punishment, pure and simple,” said Amani Senwar, a spokesperson for Euro-Mid. “Many internationals mistakenly believe that Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005, when it withdrew its settlers. However, these restrictions on access to the sea makes clear that Israel is continuing its suffocating occupation and blockade in violation of international law and the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea. It is time for the United Nations and other global bodies to hold Israel to account.”
The 30-page report, which can be accessed on the Euro-Mid website, details the legal violations committed by the Israeli occupation forces by restricting the movement of fishermen, targeting their boats, jeopardizing their safety and arbitrarily detaining them.  EuroMid is registered as a human rights organization with internationally operating offices in Geneva, Switzerland, Jordan, and Palestinian Territories.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Gaza fishermen: 'We are no longer fishermen, we've become traders'

Fishermen explain how they have resorted to buying fish smuggled through tunnels from Egypt, unable to fish in their own waters