Saturday, December 29, 2012

Israeli Gunboats Open Fire at Palestinian Fishermen West of Beit Lahiya

Al Mezan

29-12-2012

At approximately 6:45 am on Saturday 29 December 2012, Israeli naval vessels patrolling the Gaza sea opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast northwest of Al Waha resort—near the maritime border—northwest of Beit Lahiya, North Gaza district.  The firing frightened the fishermen on the boats and they sailed to land immediately.  No casualties or injuries were reported.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Israeli Gunboats Open Fire at Palestinian Fishermen West of Beit Lahiya

Al Mezan

28-12-2012

At approximately 6:30 am on Friday 28 December 2012, Israeli naval vessels patrolling the Gaza sea opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast northwest of Al Waha resort—near the maritime border—northwest of Beit Lahiya, North Gaza district.  The firing frightened the fishermen on the boats and they sailed to land immediately.  No casualties or injuries were reported.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Israeli Gunboats Open Fire at Palestinian Fishermen in North Gaza District

Al Mezan

27-12-2012

At approximately 6:00 am on Thursday 27 December 2012, Israeli naval vessels patrolling the Gaza sea opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast northwest of Al Waha resort—near the maritime border—northwest of Beit Lahiya, North Gaza district.  The firing frightened the fishermen on the boats and they sailed to land immediately.  No casualties or injuries were reported.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Israeli Gunboats Open Fire at Palestinian Fishing Boats and Arrest Two

Al Mezan

23-12-2012

At approximately 3:30 pm on Sunday 23 December 2012, Israeli naval vessels patrolling the Gaza sea opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast about five nautical miles away from the shore opposite the harbor west of Gaza city. According to Al Mezan’s field investigation, the IOF ships surrounded one Palestinian fishing boat, opened fire, and then forced two fishermen to take off their clothes and swim towards them.  The IOF confiscated the boat and arrested Mohammed Zidan, 31, and his brother Zidan, 26, and took them to an unknown destination.  At approximately 10:30 pm on the same day, the IOF released the fishermen at Erez crossing and

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Israeli Gunboats Open Fire at Palestinian Fishermen West of Beit Lahiya

Al Mezan

16-12-2012

At approximately 6:20 am on Sunday 16 December 2012, Israeli naval vessels patrolling the Gaza sea opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast northwest of Al Waha resort—near the maritime border—northwest of Beit Lahiya, North Gaza district.  The firing frightened the fishermen on the boats and they sailed to land immediately.  No casualties or injuries were reported

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Israeli Gunboats Open Fire at Palestinian Fishermen in North Gaza District

Al Mezan

15-12-2012

At approximately 6:00 am on Saturday 15 December 2012, Israeli naval vessels patrolling the Gaza sea opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast northwest of Al Waha resort—near the maritime border—northwest of Beit Lahiya, North Gaza district.  The firing frightened the fishermen on the boats and they sailed to land immediately.  No casualties or injuries were reported.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Fishermen in Gaza Sea

PCHR

Sunday, 09 December 2012 00:00

Fact Sheet

Israeli Attacks on Fishermen in the Gaza Sea

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) documented 48 attacks launched by the Israeli Occupation Forces against Palestinian fishermen during the reporting period (01– 30 November 2012).[1] According to PCHR teams' observations, these attacks escalated during the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip (14 – 21 November 2012), during which the Israeli forces committed 30 violations against Palestinian fishermen, which involved aerial and naval bombardment, as well as shooting at fishing ports across the coast of the Gaza Strip, resulting in extensive losses in public and private property of the fishing sector.
 
PCHR also documented 18 violations in the period following the offensive, after the truce deal between Israel and the Palestinian armed groups under Egyptian and international auspices was reached. These violations included, 8 shootings damaging 5 fishing boats (1 boat completely destroyed, damaging an engine, and partial damages to 3 other boats), 4 chase operations which led to the arrest of 15 fishermen while fishing between 3.5 to 6 nautical miles off the shore of Beit Lahia, Deir al-Balah, and Gaza, and the confiscation of a boat.

Violation of the Right to Life and Security of Person

Israel’s attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip constitute flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and international 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, ratified by the State of Israel.  Israeli forces perpetrated violations against Palestinian fishermen in the sea, whilst 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 Israeli forces attacked them.

First: Firing at Fishing Boats in the Gaza Strip Waters

During the reporting period, PCHR documented 8 cases in which Israeli forces fired at Palestinian fishermen in the seawaters off the Gaza shore; as a result, a fishing boat was completely destroyed, an engine was damaged, and 3 boats were partially damaged.  These attacks took place within 6 nautical miles off the Gaza shores, in which fishermen are allowed to sail and fish according to the truce-deal reached between Israel and the Palestinian armed groups under Egyptian and international auspices.  PCHR also documented the Israeli warplanes’ targeting of the fishing sector during the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. PCHR also noticed that these firing incidents against fishermen and their boats took place while fishermen were seeking their livelihood, and in the context of imposing more restrictions to terrify and prevent the fishermen from practicing their work freely.

Second: Arresting Fishermen

During the reporting period, PCHR documented incidents in which the Israeli forces arrested 15 Palestinian fishermen on 4 separate occasions, while fishing at a distance between 3.5 – 6 nautical miles, off the shore of Beit Lahia, Gaza, and Deir al-Balah.

· At approximately 10:00 hours on Wednesday, 28th November 2012, Israeli forces chased a fishing boat, belonging to Murad Rajab al-Hessi, from Gaza, at nearly 6 nautical miles off Deir al-Balah shore. Mohammad Murad al-Hessi (39), Ahmed Murad al-Hessi (32), Murad Mohammad al-Hessi (18), and Rajab Rashad al-Hessi (36) were on board the fishing boat. 4 Israeli gunboats opened fire intensively at the boat; as a result, the boat was partially damaged. The Israeli soldiers ordered the fishermen to jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. They were all arrested and interrogated at gunpoint. 3 hours later, 4 of them were released, except for Mohammad Murad al-Hessi, who is still in detention. The boat is still confiscated.

· At approximately 08:00 hours on Wednesday, 28th November 2012, Israeli gunboats opened fire directly and intensively at a Palestinian fishing boat, belonging to Khader Jamal Baker (20), from Gaza, while sailing at 3.5 nautical miles. As a result, the fishing boat was completely destroyed. Baker was arrested by the Israeli soldiers and interrogated at gunpoint for 3 hours before releasing him.
· At approximately 11:00 hours on Wednesday, 28th November 2012, Israeli gunboats opened fire intensively at a Palestinian fishing boat boarding 3 fishermen, belonging to Wafdi Suheil Baker (24), from Gaza, while sailing at 5 nautical miles off the Gaza shore. As a result of the shooting, the boat’s engine was damaged. The Israeli soldiers arrested the three fishermen, who were identified as: Wafdi Suheil Baker (24), Khaled Suheil Baker (20), and Mohammad Suheil Baker (18), all from Gaza.

· At approximately 10:15 hours on Thursday, 29th November 2012, Israeli naval forces stationed off the Beit Lahia shore, intercepted a fishing boat boarding 6 fishermen, belonging to Fahed Ziad Baker (38), from Gaza, while sailing at approximately 5 nautical miles off the Beit Lahia shore, in the northern side of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli soldiers arrested the fishermen and interrogated them on the Israeli gunboat at gunpoint. Up to this hour, they are still in detention. The arrested fishermen were identified as: Fahed Ziad Baker (38), Ihab Jawad Baker (36), Mohammad Ziad Baker (32), Nai'm Fahed Baker (16), Ziad Faged Baker (18) and Ali Alaa Baker (18).
Third: Confiscation of Fishing Boats

PCHR has followed up Israel’s violations against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza seawaters, particularly the confiscation of fishing boats.  During the reporting period, the Israeli forces confiscated Murad Rajab al-Hessi's fishing boat, while sailing at approximately 6 nautical miles off Deir al-Balah shore.

Fourth: Damaging Fishing Tools and Equipment

· At approximately 10:00 hours on Wednesday, 28th November 2012, Israeli forces chased a fishing boat belonging to Murad Rajab al-Hessi, from Gaza, at nearly 6 nautical miles off Deir al-Balah shore; as a result, the boat was partially damaged.

· At approximately 08:00 hours on Wednesday, 28th November 2012, Israeli gunboats opened fire directly and intensively at a Palestinian fishing boat belonging to Khader Jamal Baker (20), from Gaza, while sailing at 3.5 nautical miles. As a result, the fishing boat was completely destroyed.

· At approximately 11:00 hours on Wednesday, 28th November 2012, Israeli gunboats opened fire intensively at a Palestinian fishing boat boarding 3 fishermen, belonging to Wafdi Suheil Baker (24), from Gaza, while sailing at 5 nautical miles off the Gaza shore. As a result of the shooting, the boat’s engine was damaged.

· At approximately 12:00 hours on Wednesday, 28th November 2012, Israeli gunboats opened fire directly and intensively at two Palestinian fishing boats belonging to Mohammad Najib Baker (60) and Tal'at Kamel Baker (22), both from Gaza, while sailing at 3 nautical miles, off the Gaza shore. As a result of the shooting, both the boats were partially damaged.

Fifth: The Targeting the Fishing Sector during the Israeli Offensive on the Gaza Strip (14 – 21 November 2012):

During the Israeli forces' offensive on the Gaza Strip, they directly targeted the fishing sector, which inflicted extensive losses on it, including the destruction of fishing ports, boats, nets, and other fishing equipment. According to PCHR's documentation, the Israeli forces carried out 30 attacks, including aerial and naval bombardment and shootings at public and private property of the fishing sector across the coast of the Gaza Strip. As a result of these attacks, the fishing sector suffered from massive losses and destruction (as presented in tables (2) and (3)), which included nearly 80 boats, dozens of engines, and fishing equipment. Most of the Israeli attacks against the fishing sector were focused in Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip, and the Central Gaza Strip.

As a result of the offensive on the Gaza Strip, the fishermen were deprived of fishing at sea throughout the duration of the offensive (8 days), which reflected significantly on the fishermen's financial conditions and livelihood, especially that the offensive concurred with the Israeli forces' systematic policy to prohibit the fishermen from fishing freely.
Table (1)
Table of Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Fishermen in Gaza City
(01 – 30 November 2012)

Month
Firing
Killed Persons
Injuries
Arrest Incidents
Number of Detainees
Confiscation of Fishing Boats
Damage of Fishing Equipment
November
- 8
- Warplanes’ shelling of the fishing sector (north, central and south) during the Israeli offensive
-
-
4
15
1
- 5
- Partial damages (3 boats)
- Complete destruction of 1 fishing boat
- Damaging a fishing boat engine

Table (2)
Table of Damages to the Fishing Sector (Public Facilities) during the Israeli Offensive on the Gaza Strip (14 – 21 November 2012)[2]

Province
Nature of Damages
Total Damage
Northern Gaza
Partial damages
3 fishing boats
Gaza
Partial and Complete damages
- Partial damages to office of the Fishermen Association
- Destruction of the Fishermen CafĂ©
- Destruction of the port gateway
- Partial damages to the fishermen port
- Partial damages to 10 fishing boats
Central Gaza
Complete damage
Fishermen Syndicate Headquarters
Khan Younis
Partial and Complete damages
- Destruction of the Fishermen Syndicate Headquarters
- Destruction of al-Tawfiq Fishing Association
- Destruction of al-Mawasi clinic (serves the fishing sector)
- Destruction of a youth center
- Destruction of the refrigerator room and generator of the Ministry of Agriculture
- Partial damages to chambers of 5 fishermen
- Destruction of 6 doors of shops in the fish market
Rafah
Partial damages
3 fishing boats

Table (3)
Table of Damages to the Fishing Sector (Private Fishing Equipment) During the Israeli Offensive on the Gaza Strip (14 – 21 November 2012)[3]

Province
Nature of Damages
Total Damage
Central Rafah
Partial and Complete Damages
Fishing tools and equipment belonging to 42 fishermen
Khan Younis
Partial and Complete Damages
Fishing tools and equipment belonging to 24 fishermen



[1] This fact sheet issued by PCHR is the tenth of its kind.  It addresses violations carried out by the ISRAELI FORCES against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip while practicing their work.  For more details, see Fact Sheets at: www.pchrgaza.org.
[2] PCHR holds a detailed list of the public damages inflicted upon the fishing sector during the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip (14-21 November 2012).
[3] PCHR holds a detailed list of the private damages inflicted upon the fishing sector during the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip (14-21 November 2012).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Press Release: Demonstration in Solidarity with Gaza Fishermen on Wednesday

A demonstration in solidarity with Gaza Fishermen is planned for Wednesday, 5 December 2012, to be held at Gaza Port at 10am.

In the period between Wednesday, 28 November, and Saturday, 1 December, at least 29 fishermen have been arrested, at least 9 fishing boats have been impounded (including a larger trawling vessel), and one boat has been destroyed. The fishermen’s reports are generally the same: they are fishing within the new 6 mile limit (or even within the former 3 mile limit) when Israeli gunboats approach and start firing at them, oftentimes aiming at the motor. They order fishermen to strip down to their undergarments, jump into the water, and swim towards the gunboat, where they are handcuffed and blindfolded, and sometimes beaten. Some are taken to Ashdod or Erez and interrogated. Most are released the same day, although Amar Bakr is still being held at Ashdod. Most of the confiscated boats have belonged to the Bakr family, while the Hessi family has also been attacked.

An announcement was issued by the Hamas government stating that the maritime boundaries had been extended from three to six nautical miles under the terms of the recent ceasefire. International standards set the limit at 12 miles, while the Oslo Accords granted Gaza fishermen 20 miles in 1995. However, this limit was reduced to three miles in January 2009 after the attacks of Operation Cast Lead.

In late January 2009, when fishermen returned to the sea after Operation Cast Lead, they were viciously attacked. Boats were completely destroyed, and many fishermen were shot, with serious injuries. Some were even shot in the back as they attempted to return to the shore. Now, nearly four years later, immediately following a ceasefire, Gaza fishermen are once again under attack. The Israeli violations of the ceasefire agreement should not go unnoticed. Violations have occurred nearly every day since the agreement was brokered, with Israeli forces attacking fishermen at sea and farmers at work in the buffer zones. The question is now: who is holding Israel accountable?

More information can be found at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). www.pchrgaza.org.

Dooler Campbell, Jenny Linnell, and Johnny Barber are collecting interviews from fishermen in Gaza. For follow-up information, contact:
Dooler - doolerfc@gmail.com, +972 (0)592378194
Jenny - ojonamission@yahoo.co.uk, +972 (0)592181139
Johnny - dodger8mo@hotmail.com, +972 (0)599179701

Israel violates ceasefire, attacks Gaza fishermen — who is holding Israel accountable?

Gaza Port
Gaza port. (All photos: Dooler Campbell)
Since the ceasefire was put into effect on Thursday, 22 November 2012, 29 fishermen have been arrested while out at sea, including 14 fisherman arrested on Saturday, 1 December 2012. An announcement was issued by the Hamas government stating that the maritime boundaries had been extended from three to six nautical miles under the terms of the recent ceasefire. International standards set the limit at 12 miles, while the Oslo Accords granted Gaza fishermen 20 miles in 1995. However, this limit was reduced to three miles in January 2009 after the attacks of Operation Cast Lead.
In late January 2009, when fishermen returned to the sea after Operation Cast Lead, they were viciously attacked. Boats were completely destroyed, and many fishermen were shot, with serious injuries. Some were even shot in the back as they attempted to return to the shore.
Nearly four years later, immediately following a ceasefire, Gaza fishermen are once again under attack. The majority of these attacks have occurred between Wednesday, 28 November, and Saturday, 1 December. In this time, at least 29 fishermen have been arrested, at least 9 fishing boats have been impounded (including a larger trawling vessel), and one boat has been destroyed. The fishermen’s reports are generally the same: they are fishing within the new 6 mile limit (or even within the former 3 mile limit) when Israeli gunboats approach and start firing at them, oftentimes aiming at the motor. They order fishermen to strip down to their undergarments, jump into the water, and swim towards the gunboat, where they are handcuffed and blindfolded, and sometimes beaten. Some are taken to Ashdod or Erez and interrogated. Most are released the same day. Most have belonged to the Bakr family, while the Hessi family has also been attacked.
Khadr Bakr
Khadr Bakr
Many of these fishermen are the sole supporters of large families and don’t know how they will survive with their boats destroyed or impounded. Khadr Bakr, 20 years old, was arrested from his boat on Wednesday, 28 November. He is the only breadwinner in his family of ten, which consists of his parents and eight children. Khadr was fishing with three other people when the Israeli navy appeared and began firing at his ship. He was only 3.5 miles from the shore. Four large Israeli gunboats began firing at the fishing boat from a range of about 5 meters. They ordered the fishermen to take off their clothes and jump in the water. After they jumped in, they continued to fire at the boat until it caught fire and the outboard engine exploded. They also shot around Khadr while he was in the water. He said later in an interview, “I thought they were going to kill me while I was in the water.” The other three fishermen were able to escape with help from another fishing boat, but Khadr was taken aboard, where he was handcuffed and blindfolded. He was held like that for three hours, while the captain of the gunboat kicked him and accused him of aiding terrorists.
On the same day, at approximately 10am, the Israeli navy confiscated a trawling vessel belonging to Morad Rajab al-Hissi. Two Israeli gunboats approached from the West and began firing immediately upon approach. Fishermen were ordered by Israeli soldiers to strip and jump into the sea, but they refused and retrieved their nets from the water in order to leave. Two smaller Israeli naval vessels then arrived, and the order to strip was repeated. This time the fishermen obliged and were ordered to jump in the water and swim to one of the gunboats, where they were arrested. The family does not expect their boat to be returned for 2-3 years, and even then it will be with a damaged motor or no motor at all. The large trawling vessels support about 20 families, leaving all of them without a source of income. The Hissi family invested $70,000 in the trawler and fishing equipment, and are now left in debt as a result. This is the fifth time their trawler has been seized.
Sabry Mahmoud Bakr and Jamal Bakr
Sabry Mahmoud Bakr and Jamal Bakr
On Saturday, 1 December, Amar Bakr was one of 14 fishermen arrested that day, and he is still held in the prison in Ashdod. He used to work for Hamas in a civilian capacity, making coffee, but his father fears that under torture he will be coerced into saying that he was a military combatant. Amar has never been involved in the military, but because he served them coffee, his father fears he may never see him again. His household consists of 20 family members, including three disabled children (paralyzed). Fishermen bring in only meager wages, but it is often all they have to support their families. Amar’s uncle Sabry Mahmoud Bakr was also arrested on the same day. He tried to explain to the navy that Amar had never been involved in the military. He pointed out that if Amar was really dangerous, he wouldn’t be out fishing, for he would know that there would be a chance that the navy would capture him at sea. Sabry and other fishermen were transferred from Ashdod prison to Erez, where they were interrogated, then released later that night. Amar’s cousin Mohammed Bakr, also a fisherman, was killed in September 2010 by the Israeli navy.
Now is the last opportunity for these fishermen to fish during the peak season, which ends in December. The blockade prevents fishermen from bringing in major hauls on a normal day, and the situation is made worse by these attacks. Many of these fishermen have been working on boats since childhood and don’t know anything else. Therefore, when boats are impounded or destroyed, their families are sentenced to slow starvation. The high rates of unemployment in Gaza (31.5% in May 2012) make it difficult for them to find alternative work.
Israel has been violating the ceasefire nearly everyday since it was brokered, attacking civilians engaging in peaceful activities, such as farmers and fishermen at work. If it was Hamas violating the ceasefire instead of Israel, it would be used to justify a land invasion or other atrocities against the people of Gaza. The question is now: who is holding Israel accountable?
More information can be found at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR). www.pchrgaza.org.

Dooler Campbell, Jenny Linnell, and Johnny Barber are collecting interviews from fishermen in Gaza. For follow-up information, contact:

Dooler - doolerfc@gmail.com, +972 (0)592378194
Jenny - ojonamission@yahoo.co.uk, +972 (0)592181139
Johnny - dodger8mo@hotmail.com, +972 (0)599179701

Israel Is Dangerously Breaking the Ceasefire

Free Gaza

The report below is from Maria del mar Ferndandez, one of the board members of Free Gaza. She will remain in Gaza until the end of the year and will make periodic reports to us. Contact her at 00 972 (0) 595 157 194
Gaza City, December 3, 2012: In the last 4 days, Israelis have arrested 31 fishermen, destroyed a boat, kept another one they say for three years, distroyed 4 motors of the boats. They say also that Israelis are not shooting any more water cannons but real fire, and when they arrest Palestinians, one of their main interests in interrogations is to get information about internationals.

Most of the fishermen in the fishermen's union and another fishing association decided the day before yesterday not to go out to the sea, because they cannot bear that more fishermen are arrested and the boats badly damaged. There is still one fisherman kept in prison. The decision was also to wait for the next ten days so that conversations in Cairo about the ceasefire are completed in order to be sure of the 6 miles nautical miles. Most of the information is published by PCHR in Gaza.

On Wednesday, December 5,  fishermen and internationals will demonstrate at the harbour, and we have been asked to bring the flags of our own countries to make visible our support and to spread the news as much as possible.

Yesterday, some fishermen dared to go out fishing, because they said they preferred to be dead rather than stop bringing food for their families.

As for the farmers, they have been shot at in Beit Lahya where we wisited one of the families, and also yesterday Israelis were shooting at farmers and internationals in the buffer zone of Khan Younis. That's why Rosa, the Italian international here, asked most of us today to go to support them. But in the early morning they phoned that there was heavy shooting (real fire of course) and they could not go to their lands in these conditions, even accompanied by internationals. So, some of them have gone just to interview the farmers.

The statement for the European parliamentaries and to the world should be that Israel is breaking dangerously the ceasefire as people cannot bear this situation of being denied their most elemental rights to life, and security.

Two people have been dead since the "ceasefire", one in the South, and one in the North with an unexploded bomb of the last attack.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Israeli navy detains 13 Gaza fishermen off coast

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- The Israeli navy on Saturday stopped 13 Palestinian fishermen and detained them off the coast, a Gaza official said.

Mahfouth Kabariti, who heads the a Gaza-based Palestinian association of fishing and sea sports, said Israeli naval ships attacked three fishing boats and detained a number of fishermen.

He said the boats belonged to the Bakr family.

Kabariti asserted that the boats were within the range of six nautical miles that Israel is said to have agreed on in the Egypt-brokered ceasefire last Wednesday.

An Israeli army spokeswoman told Ma'an that three boats had "deviated from the official designated fishing area."

"Navy forces acted in accordance with the rules of engagement and called on the boats to return to the designated area," she told Ma'an. "When they failed to comply, they were taken to Ashdod port and transferred into the custody of the security forces," she said.

Last week, the Israeli navy detained over 20 fishermen who were later released.