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PCHR Condemns Israeli Attacks against Palestinian Fishermen

PCHR Condemns Continued Israeli Attacks against Palestinian Fishermen in Gaza
Monday, 30 April 2012

Ref: 50/2012

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns continued Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and expresses concerns of the latest of attacks, as Israeli naval troops have arrested 6 fishermen and confiscated their fishing boat and equipment.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 09:30 on Sunday, 29 April 2012, the Israeli naval troops arrested 6 fishermen while they were fishing nearly 2 nautical miles opposite to Gaza seashore. These troops fired at the fishing boat and forced the fishermen to take their clothes off and swim towards an Israeli gunboat. The Israeli troop handcuffed and blindfolded the fishermen and transferred them to the Israeli harbor of Ashdod, where the fishermen were interrogated. At approximately 21:00, 5 fishermen were released at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing: Ahmed, Amjad, who was wounded in the right leg, Ashraf and Bilal Isma’il al-Sherafi, 18, 33, 30 and 20 respectively; and Yasser Mohammed al-Sherafi, 17. The sixth fisherman, al-Sadat ‘Abdul Mo’ti Hassanain, 33, an Egyptian citizen, remained in custody.

Ahmed Imsa’il al-Sherafi, 18, from al-Shati’s refugee camp in Gaza City, stated to PCHR that at approximately 07:30 on Sunday, he, three of his brothers and his two cousins went fishing opposite to Gaza seashore. At approximately 09:30, an Israeli gunboat chased and opened fire at them. He added that Israeli naval troops forced them to take their clothes off and to swim towards the gunboat. They were taken to Ashdod Harbor, where they were interrogated. At approximately 21:00 on the same day, five of the fishermen were released at Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing.

Since the beginning of 2012, Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen and their property have escalated. According to PCHR’s documentation, Israeli naval troops have launched 50 attacks against fishermen, including 15 shooting attacks, one shooting attack that left an injury, 7 pursuits, 20 incidents of detention and 7 cases of confiscation of fishing boats and equipment.

It should be noted that Israeli occupation authorities have imposed additional restrictions on fishing in the Gaza Strip. They fist restricted fishing in Gaza sea from 20 nautical miles, according to the Oslo Accords, to 6 miles. Since 2009, they have decreased the area of fishing to 3 nautical miles. Israeli naval troops often attack fishermen within the 3-nautical miles overfished area. As a result of these restrictions, fishermen have lost at least 85% of their income.

PCHR condemns continued Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and believes they are part of the collective punishment policies practiced against the Palestinian civilian population, which violate the international humanitarian law and human rights law. Therefore, PCHR demands Israeli occupation authorities:

1. To immediately stop attacks against Palestinian fishermen and allow them to sail and fish freely in the sea;
2. To compensate victims of such attack for the physical and material damage; and
3. To return confiscated boats to their owners and compensate them for the material and incorporeal damage incurred to them.

ENDS

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