Israeli Naval Forces stationed off Beit Lahi shore in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in 4 separate incidents while sailing between 600 meters and 3 nautical miles. Israeli naval forces also confiscated 24 fishing nets. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses concern over the continued targeting of fishermen and their livelihoods. Economic and social rights of fishermen have been violated by the illegal naval blockade imposed by Israeli authorities on the Gaza waters since June 2007.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 10:40 on Wednesday, 18 December 2013, Israeli gunboats opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat that was sailing about 600 meters off al-Wahah shore in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. Two gunboats surrounded the fishing boat that was boarded by 3 fishermen: Mahmoud ‘Ali ‘Arouq (16); his brother Mohammed (22); and Jom’aah Amin ‘Arouq (24). Israeli naval forces ordered them to stop fishing and give themselves up, but they refused and fled away. The naval forces confiscated 14 fishing nets whose total lengths are 840 meters. Mahmoud ‘Ali ‘Arouq (28) said that they left the waters to the shore and watched the gunboats hoping that they would regain the fishing nets. However, the gunboats confiscated the fishing nets and left the place.
In another incident, at approximately 12:30 yesterday, 18 December 2013, Israeli gunboats opened fire at a fishing boat belonging to Khalid ‘Awad al-Kafranah, from Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, while sailing at approximately 1.5 nautical miles off al-Wahah shore in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli naval forces then confiscated 10 fishing nets.
In a third incident, at approximately 06:00 on Tuesday, 17 December 2013, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Wahah shore in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire in the vicinity of Palestinian fishing boats that were sailing approximately 3 nautical miles offshore. The shooting continued for about 10 minutes, so fishermen were forced to flee for fear of being attacked.
In a fourth incident, at approximately 14:10 on Monday, 16 December 2013, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Wahah shore in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire in the vicinity of the Palestinian fishing boats that were sailing at approximately 3 nautical miles offshore. The shooting continued for about 15 minutes, so fishermen were forced to flee for fear of being attacked.
PCHR condemns the continued Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and:
1. Calls for immediately stopping the policy of chasing and arresting Palestinian fishermen, and allowing them to sail and fish freely;
2. Demands compensation for the fishermen for the physical and material damage caused to them and their property as a result of these violations;
3. Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to immediately intervene to stop the Israeli violations against the Palestinian fishermen and to allow them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza Sea.