Monday, August 19, 2013

Israeli Attacks on Fishermen in the Gaza Sea

Monday, 19 August 2013 00:00
 Fact sheet

Israeli Naval forces continued to carry out attacks on Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip during the reporting period [1](01-30 July 2013), including shooting incidents, detention and confiscation of fishing tools.
The issuance of this factsheet coincides with the aggravation of Palestinian fishermen’s suffering in the Gaza Strip due to the ongoing Israeli naval blockade and preventing fishermen from fishing freely as well as the severe lack of fuel supplies needed to run the fishing boats and equipment.  According to PCHR’s follow-up, hundreds of Palestinian boats have broken down and more than 4000 fishermen have suffered due to being denied access to the fuel needed for their work.  This has led to serious deterioration in living conditions of a population of more than 75,000 that depends on the fishing sector as a main livelihood.[2]

Although Israeli authorities limited the fishing distance in Gaza Sea to 6 nautical miles, they neither complied with that distance nor allowed Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip to sail and fish freely, and continued their attacks against them.  PCHR documented all attacks carried out within the distance of 6 nautical miles, which proves that Israeli forces' policies aim to tighten restrictions on the Gaza Strip's fishermen and their sources of livelihood.

Violations of the International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law

Israel’s attacks against Palestinian fishermen, who do not pose any threat to Israeli soldiers, in the Gaza Strip constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, relevant to the protection of the civilian population and respect for its rights, including every person's right to work, and the right to life, liberty and security of person, as codified in Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), despite the fact that Israel is a State Party to the Covenant.  Furthermore, these attacks occurred in a time where the fishers did not pose any threat to the Israeli naval troops, as they were doing their job to secure a living.  Israeli violations in the reporting period were as follows:
  First: Firing at Fishing Boats in the Gaza Strip Waters

During the reporting period, PCHR documented 3 cases in which Israeli forces fired at Palestinian fishermen in the sea off the Gaza Strip shore. These attacks took place within the 6 nautical miles allowed for fishermen to sail and fish in, according to the cease fire agreement concluded between Israel and Palestinian armed groups under Egyptian and international auspices.

Second: Keeping Fishing Tools in Custody 

At approximately 21:00 on 03 July 2013, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats within 5.5 nautical miles off the Deir al-Balah and Nusairat shore in the central Gaza Strip.  Israeli forces chased the fishermen, opened water hoses at their boats, forced them to stop working and then confiscated 7 pieces of fishing nets belonging to Mohammed Issa Ibrahim Abu Jayyab, from Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, in custody.

Third: Confiscation of Fishing Tools
At approximately 05:00 on 03 July 2013, an Israeli gunboat opened fire at a group of fishing boats while sailing at approximately 5 nautical miles off the Gaza shore.  As a result, a fishing boat broke down as the shooting made 14 holes in its body.  A number of fishing nets belonging to Saleh Mohammed Ibrahim Abu Ryalah (43), from Shati’ refugee camp in Gaza, were lost.

At approximately 06:15 on 17 July 2013, an Israeli gunboat opened fire at a group of fishermen while sailing approximately 4 nautical miles off Beit Lahiah shore in the northern Gaza Strip.  As a result, a fishing boat broke down, and a fishing net belonging to Rajab Khaled Rajab Abu Ryalah (26), from al-Shati’ refugee camp in Gaza, was confiscated.

Thus, the number of the Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of 2013 has risen to 77 attacks, including 66 shooting incidents which resulted in the injury of 5 fishermen, in addition to 4 chase operations in which 11 fishermen were arrested, and 5 boats and 10 fishing tools were confiscated.

Table of Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Fishermen in Gaza City during June 2013

Killed Persons
Arrest Incidents
Number of Detainees
Confiscation of Fishing Boats
Confiscation of Fishing Equipment
July 2013
(fishing net)
(fishing boat and 2 fishing nets)

[1] This is the seventeenth factsheet from the series of “Factsheets”, which is issued by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and talks about the attacks launched by the Israeli Naval Forces against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip when they fish.  For further information, see Reports Factsheets at the PCHR website: www.pchrgaza.orh
[2] Over the past years, the people of the Gaza Strip have almost-completely depended on fuel smuggled from Egypt through border tunnels.  Since mid-June 2013, supplies of Egyptian fuel stopped resulting in damages that made economic activities stop in many sectors, including the naval fishing blockade. 

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