Fishers in Gaza are under assault daily, braving Israeli warships in
order to secure the products of Gaza’s Mediterranean seacoast, which
support the livelihood of over 70,000 Palestinians in Gaza. Since 2006,
the Israeli siege on Gaza has penned Gaza’s fishers into 3 nautical
miles of the shore – when most fishing requires at least a 10 mile
range, and even the 1993 Oslo accords secured 20 miles of fishing access
for Palestinian fishers. Gaza’s fishery has lost 85% of its income
because of the Israeli siege.
Jase Tanner, of the Vancouver Delegation to Gaza, filmed the
following dramatic footage during a trip out to sea during his time in
Gaza with a longtime fishing family, when their boat was fired upon by
an Israeli warship, their steering disabled as they attempted to quickly
sail toward shore. (Numerous fishers have been arrested and jailed, and
fishing boats confiscated, by the Israeli navy.)
This is the daily experience of Gaza’s fishers – most often unnoticed
and not filmed by international activists. Share this footage to inform
the world about what is happening to fishers in Gaza as they attempt to
live from their own sea that has supported Gaza throughout history:
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Saturday, July 28, 2012
Friday, July 27, 2012
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 00:00
Fadel Abu Warda near his home in Jabalia.
Fishermen in the Gaza Strip have to deal with more than just the typical occupational hazards. Instead of just worrying about holes in their nets or fuel for their motors, fishermen, like Fadel Abuwarda (30), also have to think about the regular illegal attacks, arrest, detention and confiscation of their fishing equipment they are subject to by Israel’s naval forces. It does not matter whether they are within the 3 nautical miles that Israel has unilaterally declared Gazans are allowed to fish in. Nowhere in the Gaza Sea are fishermen safe.
On 20 June 2012, at around 19:30, Fadel and a friend came under Israeli fire while they were fishing a mere 1700 meters from the Gaza Strip shore: “We had just thrown our nets in the water when we saw an Israeli gunboat speeding towards us. We then tried to pull our fishing nets out of the water and retreat, but they started shooting at us. Each time we made attempts to pull the nets in, they fired at our boat.”
After opening intensive fire on the 2 men, the initial Israeli gunboat left and was replaced by a number of other smaller gunboats with soldiers on board: “The soldiers ordered us to remove our clothes and jump into the water. We were crying and trying to talk to them. We told them we were just poor fishermen trying to make a living for our families. We begged and cried, but they would not want to listen to anything we had to say.”
Fadel finally decided to comply with the soldiers’ commands to remove his clothes and jump into the sea: “I asked my friend to pull the nets out and turn back. He is young, only 19, I thought that they would let him go back if I offered myself up, but they refused and started firing at him again. He also removed his clothes and jumped into the water.”
The 2 fishermen were then pulled out of the water by the soldiers and onto one of their small boats that was circling around their fishing boat. Fadel’s brother and cousin, as well as 2 other fishermen, were working nearby on their own boats. A few minutes later, all 4 of them were arrested and brought onto the small Israeli gunboat beside Fadel and his friend: “There were now 6 of us. We were all blindfolded. They tied our hands and feet and forced us to sit on the floor. We were all in our underwear and sat on something that felt like a leather surface. It was very uncomfortable. We asked them to give us our clothes, but they only gave them to 4 of us. My brother and cousin were not given anything to wear It was very humiliating for all of us.”
The 6 fishermen were subsequently taken to the Ashdod port in Israel: “They removed our blindfolds and we saw many soldiers waiting for us in Ashdod. I kept wondering why there were so many of them. We had not done anything wrong. We had been fishing around 1700 meters from the shore. We had not even gone near the 3 nautical miles. I just kept telling them that we are poor fishermen trying to make a living.”
Fadel and the 5 other fishermen were detained in a cell and each was questioned separately for approximately 30 minutes. It was at around midnight when they were left to sleep on mats in the cell: “In the morning, they blindfolded us again and handcuffed us, then drove us to the Erez checkpoint and released us there. They did not tell us anything about our boats and fishing nets, or where we could find them.”
For Fadel, losing his only source of livelihood has caused him and his family huge financial strain: “The losses that my brother and I incurred from losing 35 fishing nets and our boats amounts to almost 30,000 USD. Until now, I have not heard about my boat and nets. They are not where we left them the night we were arrested and currently I have no money to replace them. One of my other brothers is also a fisherman, so he took pity on me and hired me to work for him. I earn 20- 40 shekel each time I help him fish. When I had my own boat, I used to make 200 shekel. I barely have anything to take home. My wife says I do not bring money home anymore and this is hard for me.”
As a result of the loss of his livelihood, Fadel is bracing himself for a bleak and uncertain future: “I do not know if I will ever get my fishing equipment back. A few days before this incident, they fired at me and another fisherman on my boat then held us under the sun for about 2 hours for no reason. They always do this to poor people trying to make a living. This is my work, my only occupation and my life. What else for me then? It has reached a point where I cannot even bring myself to be scared anymore. Let them arrest me if they want, after all, I will just be one of the many Palestinians locked up in Israeli prisons and if they kill me while I am fishing - let it be.”
The direct targeting of civilians and civilian object constitutes a war crime, as codified in Article 8(2) (b) (ii) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The subsequent enforcement against private property in the buffer zone results in Palestinians being unable to use the property necessary for the production of food, violating numerous human rights provisions, including the right to adequate food contained in Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Israel’s actions against the fishermen is also a violation of their right to an adequate standard of living, as codified in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli navy boats opened heavy machinegun fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of southern Gaza Strip afternoon Saturday, local sources said.
They said that the Israeli gunboats targeted fishing boats off the Khan Younis and Rafah coasts, adding that no casualties were suffered despite the intensity of the shooting.
Fishermen miraculously survived the shooting after they escaped to the beach, the sources said.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Fishermen in the Gaza Sea
|Monday, 02 July 2012 00:00|
Israeli Attacks on Fishermen in the Gaza Sea
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) documented 92 attacks launched by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) against Palestinian fishermen in the first half of this year, including 54 incidents in which the IOF fired at fishermen and 16 incidents that led to the arrest of 43 fishermen, in addition to 18 incidents in which boats were confiscated and 4 incidents of damaging and confiscating fishing equipment. In this fact sheet, which covers the period from 01-30 June 2012, PCHR documented 38 violations perpetrated by the IOF against Palestinian fishermen, including 23 incidents in which the IOF fired at fishermen. In addition, the IOF arrested 13 fishermen in 4 incidents and confiscated 7 fishing boats and equipment.
Violation of the Right to Life and Security of Person
Israel’s attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip constitutes a flagrant violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, especially the right to life and security of the person, in accordance with Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which the State of Israel is a party. The IOF perpetrated violations against Palestinian fishermen in the sea, when these fishermen did not pose any threat to Israeli naval troops. The fishermen were practicing their right to work and seeking their livelihood within the territorial waters of the Gaza Strip when the IOF indiscriminately fired at them.
First: Firing at Fishing Boats in the Gaza Strip Waters
During the reporting period, PCHR documented 23 cases in which IOF fired at Palestinian fishermen in the sea off the Gaza shore, though no injuries were reported. These attacks took place within the 3 nautical miles allowed for fishermen to sail and fish in. PCHR also noticed that these firing incidents against fishermen and their boats took place in the context of seeking their livelihood, and the imposition of more restrictions to terrify and prevent the fishermen from practicing their work freely.
Second: Arresting Fishermen and Confiscating Fishing Tools
During the reporting period, PCHR documented 4 incidents in which IOF arrested 13 Palestinian fishermen, including a 17-year-old boy, confiscated 7 fishing boats and damaged 4 fishing equipment.
At approximately 00:00 on 06 June 2012, the IOF's gunboats surrounded 3 fishing boats with 3 fishermen on board off Rafah shore in the southern Gaza Strip. The fishermen are: Mohammed Mohammed Ibrahim al-Bardaweel (23); his brother Isma'il (19); and Sami 'Adnan Ibrahim al-Nada (17), all from al-Mawasi area in Rafah. The IOF transported them to the Ashdod Seaport, and they were released at 17:00 on the same day.
At approximately 22:00 on 12 June 2012, Israeli naval troops arrested Mohammed 'Aziz Radwan Bakr (19) and Mahmoud 'Aziz Radwan Bakr (22), when they were sailing 2 nautical miles off Rafah shore. They were both transported to the Ashdod Seaport, and were released at approximately 13:30 on 13 June 2012.
At approximately 22:00 on 17 June 2012, the IOF deployed in the sea off al-Sudaniya shore in the northern Gaza Strip arrested Mohammed Sobhi Sa'dallah (25) and Ashraf Sobhi Sa'dallah (30), both from the Jabalya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.
At approximately 20:00 on 20 June 2012, the IOF deployed off al-Waha Resort northwest of Beit Lahia surrounded 3 fishing boats with 6 fishermen on board. The IOF transported the fishermen to the Ashdod Seaport. The fishermen, who are from Jabalya refugee camp, were identified as: Fadel Saleh Abu Warda (31); Hatem Saleh Abu Warda (40); Mohammed Matar Khella (50); Mahmoud Mohammed Abu Warda (20); Abed Sobhi Sa'dallah (20); and No'man Ibrahim al-Sersek (18). At approximately 19:30, they were released after being questioned by the IOF.
Confiscation of Fishing Boats
PCHR has followed up on Israel’s violations against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip sea, particularly the confiscation of fishing boats. During the reporting period, 3 incidents took place in which the IOF confiscated 7 fishing boats.
At approximately 00:00 on 06 June 2012, the IOF confiscated 3 fishing boats belonging to Mohammed Mohammed Ibrahim al-Bardaweel (23) and his brother Isma'il (19), from al-Mawasi area in the west of Rafah, which had been sailing off Rafah shore in the southern Gaza Strip.
At approximately 22:00 on 06 June 2012, the IOF confiscated the boat of 'Aziz Radwan Bakr (50), which had been sailing off Rafah shore in the southern Gaza Strip.
At approximately 20:00 on 20 June 2012, the IOF confiscated 3 fishing boats belonging to a number of fishermen, which had been sailing off al-Waha Resort shore, northwest of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip.
Damage and Confiscation of Fishing Equipment
During the reporting period, 3 incidents took place in which the IOF confiscated and damaged fishing equipment.
At approximately 08:30 on 11 June 2012, the IOF confiscated 1,000 meters of fishing nets belonging to Jihad Bashir Abu Riyala (22).
At approximately 19:30 on 17 June 2012, the IOF damaged 500 meters of fishing nets belonging to Mahmoud Ahmed Matar (22), when he was sailing 2 nautical miles off al-Sudaniya shore north of Gaza.
At approximately 08:00 on 27 June 2012, the IOF confiscated and damaged a fishing net belonging to Tayseer Abed Qasem al-Aqra' (31) and Wesam Borhom al-Qor'an (20), while they were sailing 2.5 nautical miles off Deir al-Balah shore in the central Gaza Strip.
Table shows Israel’s violations against Palestinian fishermen during the first half of 2012
 The issuance of this fact sheet coincides with the fifth anniversary of the imposition of the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 July 2012 05:45