Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Press Release, 28 May 2015
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has observed an escalation of attacks carried out by Israeli naval forces against the Gaza fishers since last weekend. The shooting incidents amounted to more than 11 and resulted in the injury of 3 fishers, including a boy. PCHR condemns these attacks against Palestinian fishers that denied them their right to freely practice fishing in the Gaza Sea. PCHR also expresses its fears 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 PCHR’s investigations, At approximately 03:00 on Wednesday, 27 May 2015, Israeli gunboats opened fire at a Palestinian gunboat sailing within 3 nautical miles off the Gaza Seaport, west of Gaza City. As a result, Islam al-Sayed Khamis Murad (25) from al-Shati’ refugee camp was hit by two bullets to the top of the right thigh and the left arm. He was then taken to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City and his condition was described as moderate. Islam Murad said to a PCHR fieldworker that:
“At approximately 00:30 on Wednesday, 27 May 2015, I went with my brother, Mahmoud (23) on a fishing boat belonging to him from the Gaza Seaport to the west. We were sailing within 7 nautical miles off the shore when we were fishing. After catching a large amount of fish at approximately 03:00, we left the area. Three Israeli gunboats stationed 3 nautical miles off the shore chased and opened fire wounding me.”
On Monday morning, 25 May 2015, two fishers were wounded by Israeli naval forces when they were fishing on a boat boarded by 4 Palestinian fishers and sailing within 3 nautical miles off al-Soudaniya shore in the northern Gaza Strip. The two wounded fishers were identified as Mohammed Ziad Hasan Baker (30) who was hit by a metal bullet to the left arm and ‘Emad al-Deen Muhsen ‘Eid Baker (16) who was hit by a metal bullet to the right thigh.
Mohammed Ziad Baker said that he was sailing with three other fishers from his relatives on a boat at approximately 06:30 on Monday, 25 May 2015, from the Fishermen Seaport in Gaza City and to the northwest of Gaza, where they sailed within 3 nautical miles off the shore and started fishing. Baker said that they were surprised after around half an hour by two Israeli gunboats heading towards them. The gunboats opened fire at them, so the fishers were forced to flee away from the area to the shore. Baker added that they came back and after half an hour sailed again to the same area when the Israeli gunboats left the area. He said that they were 300 meters away from the signs placed by the Israeli navy to identify the allowed fishing area. He said that at approximately 09:00 when the sea current pulled them to where the signs were stationed, two Israeli gunboats quickly approached them again. He then turned the boat engine on and immediately fled away to the eastern side while the two gunboats chased them amidst heavy shooting. As a result, the two fishers were wounded. The fishers arrived at the beach and took the wounded persons to the hospital to receive medical treatment.
PCHR documented the increase of shooting incidents against fishermen and their boats since last Thursday, 21 May 2015 as 11 incidents were reported in different areas of the Gaza Sea.
PCHR condemns the continuous Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and:
- Calls for allowing Palestinian fishermen to sail and fish freely and immediately stopping the Israeli policy of chasing and arresting them while at sea;
- Demands compensation for the fishermen for the physical and material damage caused to them and their property as a result of these violations;
- 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 intervene immediately to stop the Israeli violations against the Palestinian fishermen, and to allow them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza sea.