Friday, October 28, 2011

PCHR Condemns Israeli Escalation of Attacks against Palestinian Fishermen in the Gaza Strip


Thursday, 27 October 2011 12:22
Ref: 107/2011

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the Israeli Navy's escalation of attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip that resulted in damages to fishing tools and equipment, detention of two fishermen and confiscation of their boat. Besides, the two fishermen were questioned, cruelly and degradingly treated and prevented from sailing and working freely. PCHR calls upon the international community to immediately put an end to these violations and exert pressure on the Israel to stop the policy of fighting civilians, including fishermen, in their livelihood.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR and testimonies of eyewitnesses, at approximately 03:30 on Thursday, 27 October 2011, Israeli warplanes targeted a "container", which is used to store fishing equipment and tools. As a result, the container was completely destroyed and fishing nets and a water tank were burnt. The container belongs to Mohammed Mahmoud Abu Shammala, 56, from Khan Yunis. This attack took place when Israeli gunboats surrounded two fishermen on board of a boat, two nautical miles off Khan Yunis shore.  The Israeli naval troops opened fire at the boat and arrested Mosa Ibrahim Isma'il Abu Jayyab, 42, and Ahmed Omar Isma'il Taneera, 21, from Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, after forcing them to stop fishing, jump into the water and swim towards the Israeli gunboat. The Israeli troops confiscated the boat and fishing equipment and transported them to Ashdod Seaport in Israel, while the two fishermen have been detained so far.

The Israeli Navy has escalated attacks against the Palestinian fishermen in Gaza since the beginning of this year. These attacks have remarkably increased in terms of number and kind. Since the beginning of this year, PCHR has documented 67 attacks against fishermen, including 40 firing incidents, five of which resulted in wounding eight fishermen who were transferred to hospitals for treatment. Additionally, PCHR has documented five incidents of chasing fishermen that resulted in arresting 18 fishermen, and 14 incidents of confiscation of boats and / or damaging fishing equipment.

It should be noted that the Israeli Navy has imposed restrictions on fishermen at sea, including denying then the right to sail and fish since 2000. The Israeli Navy also minimized the area allowed for fishing in Gaza sea from 20 to 6 nautical miles in 2008; however, the Israeli naval troops keep preventing Palestinian fishermen from going beyond three nautical miles in Gaza sea since 2009, and sometimes chase them in this area as well. As a result, Palestinian fishermen are denied access to areas beyond the three miles, due to which they have lost 85% of their subsistence.

In light of the above, PCHR:

1- Condemns the recurrence of such attacks against the Palestinian fishermen, and believes that they are part of the escalation of collective punishment against civilians. Besides, they have been carried out in the context of fighting the civilians in their livelihood, which is prohibited under the international humanitarian law and international human rights law;
2- Calls upon the Israeli Navy to immediately release the detained fishermen and their boat, to stop the policy of chasing and arresting fishermen and to allow them to fish freely in Gaza sea;
3- Calls for reparations to the victims for the physical and material damages caused to fishermen and their property;
4- Calls upon the international community, including the United Nations agencies, to assume their legal and moral responsibility through an immediate and prompt intervention to stop all the Israeli violations, including the ongoing naval blockade and deprival of fishermen of over 85% of their livelihood by limiting the area allowed for fishing to three nautical miles.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Israeli navy detains two Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza

[ 27/10/2011 - 07:00 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli navy forces detained two Palestinian fishermen off the coast of central Gaza on Thursday morning, the chief of Palestinian fishermen Nizar Ayesh said.
He told the Quds Press that an Israeli frigate fired at the Palestinian fishing boat before steering it and two fishermen on board to Asdod port.
Ayesh said that Israel was acting without fear of any deterrence and attacking and arresting Palestinian fishermen at will.
The ministry of agriculture in Gaza condemned the incident and held the Israeli occupation authority fully responsible for the lives of both men.
It said that the Israeli navy attacked the fishing boat while at work only one nautical mile off the Gaza coasts.
Israeli warplanes had earlier Thursday raided a container on the Khan Younis beach, south of Gaza Strip, and destroyed it and all fishing equipment inside it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

CPSGaza Report - 23 October 2011

The Oliva left the Gaza Seaport at 8:20 am, carrying its Palestinian captain and an international crew of two United States citizens.

At 10:45 am, while two nautical miles offshore, it observed an Israeli warship moving toward a group of five hasakas, clustered northwest of the Oliva, at a high rate of speed in an apparent attempt to scatter them.

The boats then began returning to the port. The Oliva accompanied them, leaving its position at 10:50 am and docking at 11:00 am.


Israel has been regularly attacking Palestinian fishermen within the purported 3 nautical mile fishing limit. The livelihood of many Gazans relies on fishing and Israel has been using live ammunition and water cannons to prevent fishermen from doing their work.

The Israeli Siege continues after more than 4 years, limiting the sea area available for the Gaza population. This area was supposed to be 20 miles according to the Jericho agreements from 1994 (under the Oslo accords), then it was reduced to 12 miles, to 6 miles and now to 3 miles since December 2008.

The Civil Peace Services continue monitoring potential human rights violations at the sea in front of the Gaza Strip.

Fishing in Gaza – no day at the beach

24 October 2011 | Notes from Behind the Blockade

I saw an Israeli naval warship for the first time yesterday, a concrete monster the color of ash, guzzling up the Mediterranean and spurting it out in its wake.
I rose early to go out with the Oliva, a small white boat used by Civil Peace Service (CPS) Gaza to monitor the Israeli navy’s conduct vis-à-vis Palestinian fisherman.
My colleague Joe and I walked across Gaza’s sandy shore, past a dozen wooden boats painted in bright shades of pink, blue, green and yellow and then jumped onto the Oliva.  CPS’s white and blue flag billowed as Captain Salah started the boat’s engine and we pulled out of the harbor. Burgundy carpets with geometric designs lay across the boat’s floor.   Three orange life jackets sat within an arm’s reach.
“Oliva to base, we are now leaving the port,” Joe radioed.

Fishing in Gaza - Click here for more images
Because of weather conditions, we didn’t get started until about 8:20 a.m.  Joe showed me how to work the radio and we were off.  Dozens of small wooden boats – hasakas as they call them here – docked in Gaza’s peaceful harbor floated above the water, and if I didn’t know better, I may have felt like I was on a Middle Eastern pleasure cruise.
“So this may sound obvious, but if the Israelis water cannon you, don’t just stand there,” Joe informed me. “Duck,” he said in a matter of fact tone.  “Oh, and go to the front of the boat, they generally target the engine.”
We sped towards the infamous 3 nautical mile line – another unilaterally-imposed “no go” zone imposed by Israel in June 2007 – cutting through the waves. Under the Oslo Accords, specifically under the Gaza-Jericho Agreement of 1994, Palestinians are permitted to fish 20 nautical miles off the coast of Gaza.  Israel reduced this amount in 2002 to 12 nautical miles, and began enforcing a 6 nautical mile limit after Shalit’s capture in 2006.
“How are you feeling?” Joe asked me. At least one other international human rights observer had gotten sea sick on her first journey, and had asked if I would like to take something in advance of the journey for sea sickness.
“Oh I’m totally fine,” I responded.  This was nothing. I mean the Mediterranean — it wasn’t even an ocean, how bad could it be? I declined the pills. And besides, I was tough.  I sat back on the seats and chatted with Saleh for a bit in Arabic. He had 25 years of experience on the sea and told me the name of his village in what is now Israel from where his family was pushed out of in 1948.
At about 2 nautical miles I checked our position. We could see the Israeli naval ship moving towards five hasakas, headed our way. We continued forward, and then stopped our engine as one of them pulled up beside us.
“The Israelis shot live fire at us and we came back,” one of the men on the blue, yellow and white boat said.  All of the hasakas came towards us, as fast as their small engines would be allow.
We all floated around for a while, until the navy moved away and the fisherman head back out.  The Oliva straddled the 3 mile line, engines off, monitoring the situation.  The fishermen explained what I had already read, that there were no fish to catch within 3 miles from the shore. The fish were 5, 6, 7 miles out.  And so, the fishermen went out every day, sometimes fishing within 3 miles, sometimes going out further, in an attempt to ply their trade.
We watched as the Israeli navy played the game of cat and mouse with the working fisherman of Gaza, shooting at them when they came out, then moving south to shoot at another set of fisherman, then coming back towards us, and back again. Some of these fishermen had been detained by the Israeli navy in the past, taken to Ashod and then released, their boats damaged or confiscated.
“There are two more Israeli ships farther north,” Saleh explained.
I jotted down some notes, and, suddenly felt a wave a nausea. Taking notes was making me sick. I lay down.  Joe periodically radioed the base to report our coordinates.  At times, we could hear the crackle of the radio as the Israelis talked amongst themselves, sometimes in Hebrew, sometimes in English. I tried to recall the Hebrew I had learned years ago, but that too, made me sick.
“The navy is back,” Saleh reported. “Look they are very close to the fisherman.” I sat up and tried to take a few photos and some video footage, inhaling the engine’s fumes as the Oliva rocked in the sea.  I lay back down.  I was the world’s worst human rights observer at sea.
Saleh continued to explain the situation in Arabic, but my brain stopped working. I crawled up, leaned over the side of the boat and gagged a few times. And then, well, my breakfast came up.  All of it. And dinner from the night before as well.
As my head dangled over the side of the boat, I wondered if the Israeli navy was watching us with their binoculars. Didn’t they have anything better to do then harass these poor fisherman? I mean really, the navy is supposed to be one of the most prestigious units for Israelis, and here they were spending all day, every day chasing after skinny fishermen riding in tiny pastel-colored wooden boats.  Gilad Shalit was free, so really, why the 3 mile limit? Were they worried that Palestinians were going to fling sardines at them using 18h century technology?
After about ten minutes I came back up.  Captain Saleh had started the boat and he let me drive it for a few minutes, since apparently that cures sea sickness. It did. Around 11 a.m. the fishermen head back and so did we.
Back on shore, we saw the group that had initially reported the gunfire and they showed us their meager catch of silvery fish – selling for about 20 shekels ($4) a kilo. They would be back out again tomorrow, Israeli gunfire and all.

Updated on October 24, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

PCHR weekly report 6/10 - 12/10/2011: attacks opposite Beit Lahia and Deir al Balah

extracts from PCHR weekly report 6/10 - 12/10/2011:

IOF have continued to fire at Palestinian fishermen and farmers in the Gaza Strip.

Friday, 07 October 2011

At approximately 21:15, Israeli gunboats stationed opposite to Beit Lahia beach in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. Palestinian fishermen were forced to flee towards the beach, and no casualties were reported. 

Sunday, 09 October 2011   

Also at approximately 07:00, Israeli gunboats stationed opposite to Deir al-Balah beach in the central Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. The fishermen were forced to flee towards the beach. No casualties were reported. 

Monday, 03 October 2011

At approximately 07:15, Israeli gunboats stationed opposite to Beit Lahia beach in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. The fishermen were forced to flee towards the beach. No casualties were reported. 


Monday, October 10, 2011

Virtual Field Visit: Israel's Enforcement of the Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip

This video combines Al-Haq's visual documentation with satellite imagery to create virtual tours of the human rights violations commited in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Each tour is designed to recreate the experience of making a field visit, providing everyone with the opportunity to see the on-the-ground reality of the occupation.

This tour shows how Israeli occupying forces often use live ammunition to enforce the buffer zone in the Gaza Strip, both on land and at sea. Since the beginning of 2010, stone-collectors have been increasingly under attack by Israeli soldiers. In 2009, Al-Haq documented seven cases of rubble collectors injured by live ammunition in the vicinity of the buffer zone, whereas this number was 10 times higher during 2010, when 68 rubble collectors, of whom 15 children, were shot. Fishermen are also targeted on a daily basis with many incidents occurring outside the buffer zone. In some cases, the Israeli occupying forces fire rockets and shoot bullets at the Palestinian boats at sea or on the shore in order to destroy them, thus preventing the fishermen from working.

- View an interactive version of this Virtual Field Visit.

- Read Al-Haq's legal analysis of the Israel Enforcement of the Buffer Zone

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Israeli Navy Fires At Fishing Boats In Gaza

Saturday October 08, 2011 07:05 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

On Friday evening, the Israeli Navy opened fire on a number of Palestinian fishing boats in Palestinian territorial waters near Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip; no injuries were reported.
A Fishing Boat After Being Attacked By The Navy - File -
A Fishing Boat After Being Attacked By The Navy - File -
Following the Israeli attack, the fishermen returned to shore to avoid any further attacks.

Mahmoud Al Aassy, head of the At-Tawfeeq Society for Fishermen, stated that Israel is always trying to keep them from going out to fish, which leaves them and their families without any source of income.

Friday's is the latest incident in the ongoing attacks on the fishermen in Gaza. On October 5th, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing vessels in northern Gaza; damage was reported but fortunately there were no injuries.

Israel enforces a no-go zone beyond three nautical miles off the Gaza Strip’s coast. This prevents Palestinian fishermen from reaching the good fishing areas, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights reported earlier this month.

Even when they stay inside the designated fishing zone, they face recurring attacks and are subjected to cruel and degrading treatment by the Navy.

The Israeli Army also has kidnapped dozens of fishermen without any pretext, and has destroyed boats and equipment in order to discourage Palestinian fishermen from pursuing their livelihood.

According to Al Mezan's information, since the beginning of the September 2000 Intifada, Israeli soldiers have kidnapped 29 fishermen and opened fire on fishing vessels 229 times, resulting in 6 Palestinian deaths and 22 injuries.

In addition, 67 boats have been confiscated, and there have been 16 instances of equipment being damaged.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

PCHR weekly report 29/9 - 5/10/2011: attack opposite Beit Lahia

extracts from PCHR weekly report 29/9 - 5/10/2011:

Wednesday, 05 October 2011

At approximately 08:00, Israel gunboats stationed opposite to Beit Lahia beach in the northern Gaza Strip opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats. Palestinian fishermen were forced to flee towards the beach and no casualties were reported.