On Tuesday and Wednesday, 25 and 26 June 2019, the Israeli chasing of the Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip Sea resulted in the arrest of 3 fishermen and injury of another in addition to causing damage to a boat and fishing nets.
According to the follow-up of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 02:00 on Wednesday, 26 June 2019, Israeli gunboats stationed off Rafah shore attacked and opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 6 nautical miles. As a result, a fishing boat sustained damage and 2 fishermen on board namely Mohammed Ibrahim ‘Ayash (23) and his brother Mos’ab (20), from Deir al-Balah, were arrested. A number of fishermen managed to pull the boat after it was broken.
At approximately 21:00 on Tuesday, 25 June 2019, the Israeli gunboats chased a fishing boat belonging to the heirs of fisherman Akram Jamil al-Nada. The boat, which was manned by Akram’s son Hazem (16) and Mohammed Hesham Ahmed al-Nahal (25), were sailing off Rafah shore within 3 nautical miles. The Israeli soldiers pumped water towards the fishing boat. As a result, the fishermen fell into the water and Hazem was arrested and taken to the Israeli gunboat. Moreover, Mohammed Hesham al-Nahal sustained bruises to the face, chest and lower limbs while the fishing boat sustained damage. Mohammed said to PCHR’s fieldworker that he managed to get into the boat and then fainted. Another fisherman sailing near him managed to reach him and drove him back to the shore. Mohammed was taken to Abu Yusuf al-Najjar Hoapital in Rafah and then referred to Gaza European Hospital in Khan Younis to receive medical treatment.
At approximately 07:00 on Wednesday, 26 June 2019, the Israeli authorities released the 3 fishermen via Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing.
During the past 2 days and today morning, PCHR’s fieldworkers monitored that the Israeli naval forces escalated their attacks against Palestinian fishermen, including chasing and banning them from sailing freely in the allowed fishing area. The Israeli gunboats chased, opened fire and pumped water at Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, west of Rafah, Gaza City and Beit Lahia and prevented them from pulling out their fishing nets and confiscated them. Emad Eden Khalil Ahmed Mansour (29), from Tal al-Sultan neighborhood, west of Rafah, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that Israeli gunboats stationed offshore, west of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, opened fire at the fishing boat manned by him on Monday, 24 June 2019. As a result, the boat front sustained damage, and the Israeli forces confiscated the fishing nets that belong to him in addition to fishing nets of other fishermen. According to Emad, his around 10 fishing nets cost around NIS 5,500.
It should be noted that Israeli gunboats imposed a complete blockade on the Gaza Strip Sea on 13 June 2019, during which the fishermen were prevented from sailing and fishing for 5 days. On 18 June 2019, the fishermen were allowed to sail up to 6 nautical miles from the northern Gaza Strip to western Gaza City and 10 nautical miles from Gaza Valley until Rafah City.
PCHR strongly condemns the Israeli ongoing attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip and considers them violations of the right to life and work. Therefore, PCHR:
- Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, to intervene to stop all Israeli violations against fishermen and allow them to fish freely in the Gaza Sea.
- Calls upon the Israeli authorities to stop chasing the fishermen and enable them to fish freely.