Thursday, June 30, 2011

PCHR weekly report 23/6 - 29/6/2011: 2 attacks, 2 fishermen abducted, 1 boat damaged

extracts from PCHR weekly report 23/6 - 29/6/2011:

Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza Strip.  
- A fishing boat was damaged, and IOF arrested two fishermen, but released them later. 

During the reporting period, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza Strip in two separate incidents. In one of these attacks, a Palestinian fishing boat was damaged. IOF also arrested two fishermen, but released them later.  

Thursday, 23 June 2011

At approximately 06:00, Israeli gunboats opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat opposite to Rafah seashore in the southern Gaza Strip. Mohammed Mohammed al-Bardawil, 22, and his brother Isma’il, 18, were on board of the boat, which was sailing nearly 2.8 nautical miles off the beach. The motor of the boat was destroyed and the boat itself was damaged. Israeli naval troop forced the two fishermen to jump into water and swim towards an Israeli gunboats. The two fishermen were taken to the Israeli Ashdod Harbor, where they were interrogated by an Israeli naval officer. They were released at approximately 19:00 on the same day. 

Sunday, 26 June 2011

At approximately 07:00, Israeli gunboats stationed opposite to Beit Lahia seashore in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. Palestinian fishermen were forced to flee, and no casualties were reported. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

PCHR weekly report 16/6 - 22/6/2011: 3 attacks, 2 boats damaged by gunfire

extracts from PCHR weekly report 16/6 - 22/6/2011:

Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza Strip.
- Two fishing boats were damaged. 

During the reporting period, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza Strip in 3 separate incidents. In one of these attacks, two Palestinian fishing boats were damaged.  

Friday, 17 June 2011

At approximately 20:40, Israeli gunboats stationed opposite to Beit Lahia seashore in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. No casualties were reported. 

Saturday, 18 June 2011

At approximately 00:35, Israeli gunboats stationed opposite to Beit Lahia seashore in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. No casualties were reported.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011  

At approximately 10:00, Israeli gunboats station opposite to Gaza seashore opened fire at a fishing boat belonging to Nasser Suleiman Baker, 24, from al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City. The boat was sailing nearly two nautical miles away from the beach. Baker, his two brothers, Ahmed and Jalal, and their cousin, Jouhar, were on board of the boat. The motor of the boat was damaged. Another boat belonging to Mohammed Subhi Baker, on board of which were 5 fishermen, came to offer help to the affected boat, but Israeli gunboats opened fire at it damaging its motor also. Many fishing boats gathered and fishermen were able to pull the two damaged boats to the beach.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Two fishing boats shot off Gaza coast

Two fishing boats shot off Gaza coast

21 June 2011 | International Solidarity Movement

At around 9am on June 21, two fishing boats were attacked by the Israeli Navy, with bullets piercing both engines, rendering them unusable.
The first boat was shot at in the motor, at the rear end and, when the 4-man crew took cover at the front of the boat, away from the shots directed at the motor, the front of the boat was fired upon.
Yaser Baker is one of the four fishermen who were aboard the first boat which was shot. “We were at around two and a half miles out to sea when they shot at our engine and it broke. We stopped the boat and all moved to the front, away from the engine so that we wouldn’t get hit. Then they shot at the front, right at us, the bullets just missing our bodies and one landed right by my leg.”
A second boat, manned by Mohammed Bakri Sabir came to assist the first, but was also attacked, both in the engine and the front of the boat, where the crew was taking cover.
Aboard the second boat were three fishermen and two of their children, aged nine and ten years old.
The boats managed to escape when around twenty other local fishing boats surrounded them and escorted them back to shore as the nine-year-old feigned an injury.  “He had to play dead,” Baker explained, “it was the only way we could get them to stop firing.”

Thursday, June 16, 2011

PCHR weekly report 9/6 - 15/6/2011: attack opposite Beit Lahia

extracts from PCHR weekly report 9/6 - 15/6/2011

IOF fired at Palestinian fishing boats in the Gaza Strip.  

Saturday, 11 June 2011

At approximately 22:00, Israeli gunboats stationed opposite to Beit Lahia seashore in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. They also fired flash bombs over the area. Palestinian fishermen were forced to flee and no casualties were reported.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fishing Under Fire

By Eva Bartlett

GAZA CITY, Jun 12, 2011 (IPS) - In Gaza's main port, beyond the newly-built memorial to the Freedom Flotilla martyrs, Gaza's fishermen prepare to go out trawling at shallow depths in Palestinian waters. Other fishers stay on land to mend nets and fix boats damaged or destroyed by Israeli navy gunfire, shelling, water cannoning and even ramming. Such moves as the opening of Rafah have done nothing for Gaza's fishermen.

Mahfouz Kabariti, president of Gaza's Fishing and Marine Sports Association points out recently damaged boats.

Tracings in the sand reveal where a damaged hassaka (a small speedboat or smaller hand-paddled boat) sat for repairs from an Israeli navy machine gun assault on Jun. 1 this year. "There were 25 bullets in both sides of the boat, as well as one in the engine," Kabarati says. "Two fishermen work from it, Ramadan Zidan, 51, and his son Mohammed, 20. They weren't even out at sea, they were just beyond the harbour."

Down the sandy road to the dock for larger fishing boats, Farej, 23, stands aboard a larger, roofless fishing trawler, the detached roof splayed across a port wall opposite the boat.

"Our nets were in the water when the Israeli gun boat came at us," says Farej, one of the fishermen on board the trawler less than three miles off Gaza's coast when assaulted by the Israeli navy on May 26.

"The Israeli soldiers shot at our nets which we tried to pull in," he says, noting that the severed nets disappeared into the sea. "Then they rammed our boat, knocking the roof off."

With ample deck space for pulling in catches and sorting the fish for storage, most Palestinian fishing trawlers are between 15 to 20 metres, with a steel "umbrella" over the work area. "The roof fell down on my brother Raed, but we couldn't reach him to help him. The Israelis kept firing on us and on the area of the fallen roof," Farej says.

"They kept threatening to take us to Ashdod," he says. "They kept cursing at us and taunting us."

While Raed, 28, survived the attack with a broken leg and injured back, Farej worries how his brother will feed his five children while incapacitated.

"I was studying business management at university," Farej says. "I had to quit because I couldn't afford the fees and we need my income to feed our families."

Sufyan, 43, works on the same trawler. "Just the day before that we were water cannoned by the Israelis," he says. "They doused us with high-powered water for about 30 minutes, broke our GPS system and ruined anything electrical on board. We were only three miles off the coast."

Under the Oslo accords, Palestinian fishermen have the right to fish 20 nautical miles off the Gazan coast. This limit has been unilaterally micro-sized by the Israeli navy by lethal imposition via gunfire, shelling and water-cannoning. A year ago fishermen scarcely caught any fish when just six miles out. The prospects for catching fish are all the more dire at the new insufficient three-mile limit.

On the evening of May 30, Ragab Hissy's 15.5 metre trawler was again attacked by Israeli water cannoning, gunfire and ramming. "They water cannoned us so strongly and for so long that we hid inside, under the deck," says a 32-year-old fisherman who gives his name as M. "While we were hiding, the Israeli gunboat rammed us." He points out a newly-replaced slot of wood in the boat's hull and a dent in the steel framing the hull where the Israeli gunboat rammed his trawler. "The Israeli soldiers were shouting at us, swearing at us and cursing Islam," he says. "We were less than three miles out from this port. The Israelis accused us of waiting to go out further at night. They told us, 'you have to go back to 2.5 miles from the coast so that you don't cross three miles’," M says.

"Since 2005 we have had serious problems from the Israelis while fishing," says Sufyan Koolah, from the same trawler. "This trawler was badly damaged in 2007 by Israeli gunfire. It cost roughly 20,000 dollars to repair it. During 2008 we lost much of our fishing equipment and nets to Israeli attacks."

A father of ten, with three children in university, Koolah will be out of work for the next two months, the amount of time he says it will take to repair the trawler. "Seventeen people work on this boat and will be out of an income, not just me and my family."

Families like Koolah's, Abu Ouda's, Hissy's and the countless other nameless of Gaza's roughly 4,000 fishermen face unprovoked Israeli navy assaults on a daily basis but continue to trawl the waters for food and income for their families.

"Three miles is too shallow. People swim at three miles. We need to be able to fish like we did in the past, beyond ten miles and up to 20 miles," says M, the fisherman on Hissy's boat.

Catches these days are neutered versions of Palestinian fishermen's former hauls. Unable to breech three miles, Gaza's fishermen are left to harvest undersized fish seeped in the pollution of Gaza's sewage run-off. The greater numbers and quality of fish lie at least six miles out.

"Between March and June, large schools of sardines migrate through Palestinian waters over ten miles out," says Nizar Ayash, director of Gaza's Fishing Syndicate. "They are abundant in number, all fishermen can benefit, and they were traditionally Gaza's cheapest source of quality protein."

In a May 2011 report, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) cites poverty among Gaza's fishermen at 90 percent, the poorest earning less than 100 dollars per month, an increase of 40 percent from 2008.

"In the last five years, at least seven fishermen have been killed by the Israeli navy," Nizar Ayash says, estimating tens more have been injured and over 300 arrested while fishing in Palestinian waters. "But they will keep fishing, they have no choice." (END)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Israeli occupation navy boats fire at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Rafa

[ 10/06/2011 - 09:35 PM ]

RAFAH, (PIC) Israeli occupation naval boats opened fire on Thursday evening at Palestinian fishing boats off the southern Gaza Strip Rafah coast.
Palestinian naval police in the Gaza Strip said that the Israeli boats opened machinegun fire at the fishing boats forcing the Palestinian fishermen to flee to the shores, no casualties among the fishermen were reported.
Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip face daily harassment from the Israeli occupation navy which does not allow them to go beyond 3 miles off the coast of Gaza and harasses them even within this Zone, often firing at or ramming their boats and sometimes arresting them.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gaza activists: Monitoring boat to sail Wednesday

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The first monitoring boat in Gaza waters crewed by international citizens will set sail on Wednesday morning, activists said.

The vessel, named Oliva, will leave from Gaza City fishing port with crew from Spain, the US, Sweden and the UK, and accompany Gaza fisherman in the waters, organizers said in a statement released Tuesday.

"Violations of international law will be monitored, documented, and disseminated," the release from the Civil Peace Service said.

The organization said the initiative is in cooperation with local groups including the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committees, the Union of Agriculture Committees and Fishing and Marine Sports Association.

Israeli military vessels monitor the Gaza coast and enforcing a fishing limit of three nautical miles and blockade of the Gaza Strip, with fishermen reporting fire, boat confiscations and detentions by the navy.

Last Wednesday, fishermen said one skiff was hit by an Israeli ship and sunk, injuring a fisherman, off the southern Gaza coast.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Gaza fishermen: Israeli navy hit skiff, 1 injured

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Gaza fishermen said one skiff was hit and sunk Wednesday night by an Israeli naval boat off the Rafah coast.

Fisherman Ahmad Abu Salmiyeh, 20, was injured after sinking with his boat following the collision, which took place near Tal As-Sultan in the southern Gaza Strip, his colleagues told Ma'an.

A group of fellow fishers rushed out to rescue him, Ma'an's correspondent reported.

An Israeli military spokesman said the army was not familiar with the incident, and denied that the navy sank a boat or caused injuries.

Israeli military ships patrol Gaza's Mediterranean shore, enforcing a 3-mile fishing limit and blockade on the strip, with fishermen reporting fire, boat confiscations and detentions by the navy.

Israeli gunboat chases Palestinian fishing boat
[ 02/06/2011 - 09:01 AM ]

RAFAH, (PIC)-- An Israeli gunboat attacked a Palestinian fishing boat off the Rafah coast, south of the Gaza Strip, on Wednesday evening, local sources said.
They added that the Palestinian fishing boat capsized and that a 20-year-old fisherman on board had almost drowned as a result.
The sources said that the 20-year-old fishermen Ahmed Abu Salima was saved by a number of other fishermen at sea.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Israeli gunboat fires on fishermen in Gazan waters

1 June 2011 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza

Ramadan Zidan, 51, and his son Mohamed, 20 set sail from the harbor in Gaza at seven in the morning, they didn’t plan to go far, only to fish outside of the harbor. For an hour and half everything went well, it was a beautiful morning and they still hoped to have a successful day of fishing. When the Israeli gunboat first started to approach them at eight thirty a.m. they thought nothing of it, they were close to the port, nowhere near the Israeli imposed three mile limit on Palestinian fisherman. Unexpectedly the gunboat started to shoot around their boat. The boat wasn’t hit, and the gunboat left the area, so the men went back to fishing. Then they saw the gunboat turn around and come at them again. It opened fire on the boat again; the front of their boat was hit several times with bullets. The gunboat then told the men that they were under arrest. Fearing that after confiscating the boat the Israeli’s would either damage the boat while it was in Ashdod, as routinely happens to the seized boats of Palestinian fisherman, or even worse refuse to return the boat, the fisherman started the engine and began to return to port. The gunboat shot the engine of the boat, but miraculously the engine didn’t stop working and the fisherman made it safely back to port despite the shell in the engine and the many bullet holes in their ship. They hope to return to fishing soon, they have no other way to support their families.