Friday, June 12, 2015

Israeli forces open fire at Palestinian fishing boats

June 12, 2015 6:08 A.M. (Updated: June 13, 2015 9:53 A.M.)
A Palestinian policeman inspects a burned boat on a beach in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on Jan. 3, 2015. (AFP)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the northern Gaza Strip on Friday, forcing fishermen to flee the area in fear for their lives, a local union said.The union also reported that Israeli forces confiscated eight fishing nets late Thursday. The report comes as several Palestinian fishermen have been detained this month, and three have been shot dead by Israeli forces since September.Risk of death or detention by Israeli forces is compounded by ongoing harassment and interference with their work from Israeli naval forces who frequently confiscate boats and fishing materials, according to documentation by the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights.An Israeli army spokeswoman did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Friday's incident.In a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas last summer, Israel agreed to expand the fishing zone off Gaza's coast, allowing fishermen to sail as far as six nautical miles from shore and to continue to expand the area gradually, however fishermen are routinely stopped within the zone.Near-daily confrontation with Israeli naval forces come as many Gazan residents are food insecure, and over 90 percent of Palestinians working in the fishing industry live below the poverty line in Gaza, the Secretary-general of the Union of Fishermen told Ma'an.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Israeli forces release 5 detained fishermen in Gaza

June 4, 2015 10:06 A.M. (Updated: June 4, 2015 10:07 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Thursday evening released five Palestinian fishermen who were detained near al-Sudaniya beach in the northern Gaza Strip the same morning. Secretary general of the fishermen union Amjad al-Sharafi told Ma'an that Israeli forces released the five fishermen from the Baker family who were detained earlier. 
Also Thursday, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions in Gaza said that Israeli forces arrested 60 Palestinian fishermen and seized or destroyed 30 fishing boats since the start of the ceasefire last August. 

The general director of the union Sami al-Asmi said in a statement that Israeli forces seized 77 boats in the last four years, returned 14 of them and destroyed five. They also killed fisherman Sayed Abu Riyala while he was working last March. 

He added that among the 60 fishermen arrested, three remain in Israeli custody for the possession of fiberglass, which used to be legal but now isn't according to Israeli regulations. 

Al-Asmi demanded that Israel stop its continuous attacks on farmers and fishermen in Gaza Strip, and called for the release of those arrested.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Israeli Naval Forces Wound Two Fishers and Arrest Five Others, including Child in Gaza Sea


Tuesday, 02 June 2015 00:00
Ref: 26/2015

On Tuesday, 02 June 2015, Israeli naval gunboats chased and opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat sailing off northern Gaza shore wounding two fishers.  On Monday morning, 01 June 2015, Israeli naval forces also arrested five Palestinian fishers, including a child, while fishing off Gaza shore.  The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns these attacks against Palestinian fishers that deny them their right to freely practice fishing in the Gaza sea.  PCHR also expresses its concern over the continued Israeli policy of targeting fishers' livelihoods in light of the illegal naval blockade imposed on Gaza sea and in conjunction with the sardine season as well.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 06:00 on Tuesday, 02 June 2015, Israeli gunboats opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat sailing within four nautical miles off al-Soudaniya shore, north of Gaza City, wounding two fishers.

Moheeb Ahed Baker said to a PCHR fieldworker that at approximately 06:00 on Tuesday, 01 June 2015, he and five other fishers went together for sailing on a fishing boat belonging to Bahjat Baker. He added that they started fishing four nautical miles off al-Sudaniya shore. They had fished for an hour and a half, but suddenly an Israeli gunboat that was around opened fire at them. Baker pointed that they tried to flee after they heard the gunfire, but Israeli gunboats chased and directly fired at them. As a result, he sustained five bullet wounds to the legs and Mohammed Mahmoud al-Louh sustained two bullet wounds to the left leg.

On Monday, 01 June 2015, Israeli forces arrested five fishers, including a child, while fishing about four nautical miles off Gaza City shore. These fishers were identified as: Adel Sa'id Abu Reyala (42), Yusef Adel Abu Reyala (19), Mohammed Ibrahim al-Najjar (35), Rami Ibrahim al-Najjar (30) and Ibrahim Hani al-Najjar (11). Four of them were released on Monday midnight, while Rami al-Najjar has remained in custody.

PCHR condemns the violations committed by the Israeli navy forces against Palestinian fishers in the Gaza Strip, and calls upon Israeli forces to:

1. Immediately stop its policy of chasing and arresting Palestinian fishers, to allow them to sail and fish freely, and to return confiscated fishing boats and tools;
2. Pay compensation to the victims of Israel’s violations for the physical and material damage caused to fishers and their property;
3. Release Palestinian fishermen who have been under the Israeli custody; and
4. Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention 1949, to intervene in order to stop Israeli violation against Palestinian fishermen and allow them to fish freely in the Gaza Strip sea.