Thursday, November 29, 2012

PCHR Statement On Ongoing Attacks Against Palestinian Fishermen In Gaza

The Continued Attacks against Palestinian Fishermen Prove False Israeli Claims of Permitting Fishermen to Fish up to 6 Nautical Miles.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns Israel's violations against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, which continue in spite of the Israeli authorities' announcement of allowing the fishermen to fish up to 6 nautical miles off the Gaza shore.

PCHR calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the protection of civilians in times of war, to intervene to immediately stop the Israeli violations against the Palestinian fishermen, and to allow them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza sea.

PCHR has been following up the progress at the Gaza sea, since the Israeli forces stopped its offensive on the Gaza Strip, from 14 to 21 November 2012, under terms of the truce deal between the Palestinian armed groups and Israel under Egyptian and international auspices.

Since Thursday, 22 November 2012, the Palestinian fishermen have been able to fish within 6 nautical miles, under intense surveillance by the Israeli gunboats which were deployed near the Palestinian fishing boats.

A number of fishermen have sailed up to 6 nautical miles during the past few days. They were very cautious because of the presence of the Israeli gunboats nearby, bearing in mind that the Israeli authorities did not officially announce the new fishing distance allowed for the Palestinian fishermen to access.

PCHR documented Israeli violations committed against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza sea between Thursday, 22 November 2012, (the first day of the enforcement of the truce deal) and Thursday, 29 November 2012. These violations were as follows:

• On Monday, 26 November 2012, Israeli gunboats intercepted a fishing boat while it sailed at 8 nautical miles out of the Gaza city shore. According to fisherman Amjad Ismail Ahmed al-Sherafi (38) from Gaza, at approximately 09:30, he and his brother Mohammad (34) sailed their in the Gaza waters when an Israeli gunboat intercepted him and forced him to stop at gunpoint and sail back without pulling his fishing nets out of the sea.

• At approximately 10:00 on Wednesday, 28 November 2012, Israeli forces chased a fishing boat belonging to Murad Rajab al-Hessi, from Gaza, at nearly 6 nautical miles off the shore from Deir al-Balah. Mohammad Murad al-Hessi (39), Ahmed Murad al-Hessi (32), Murad Mohammad al-Hessi (18) and Rajab Rashad al-Hessi (36) were on board of the boat. 4 Israeli gunboats opened intensive fire at the boat, which caused damage to the boat. The Israeli soldiers then ordered the fishermen to jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. They were all arrested and interrogated at gunpoint. 3 hours later, 4 of them were released. However, Mohammad Murad al-Hessi remains in detention. In addition, the boat still remains confiscated.

• At approximately 08:00 on Wednesday, 28 November 2012, Israeli gunboats opened intense and direct fire at a Palestinian fishing boat, belonging to Khader Jamal Baker (20), from Gaza, while he sailed at 3.5 nautical miles. As a result, the fishing boat was destroyed. Baker was arrested by Israeli soldiers who interrogated with him at gunpoint for 3 hours before releasing him. More