The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continues attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza sea. The IOF opens fire on fishermen and destroys and confiscate their boats and equipment.
According to Al Mezan’s field investigations, at approximately 9:00 am on Monday 25 May 2015, Israeli gunboats opened fire at a fishing boat that was carrying four fishermen. The boat was approximately three nautical miles to the west of Al Karama Towers, off of the coast of the North Gaza district. Three fishermen; including a minor, were injured in the attack. Al Mezan identified the injured as follows:
The Israeli Navy continuously abuses fishermen with degrading and threatening language.
In his affidavit to Al Mezan, fisherman Mohamed Baker, one of the injured, stated that: “at around 6:30 am on Monday, 25 May 2015, we headed to the north-western area of the fishermen’s port located west of Gaza City, by a fishing boat (Hasakah). We stopped the boat about three nautical miles from the shore. We started fishing. After about half an hour, we were surprised by two Israeli naval boats approaching us and shooting heavily at us. We quickly left the area for the shore. After approximately half an hour, we returned to fish. We stopped the boat about 300 meters away from the illuminated buoys positioned to the north. The buoys form a line demarcating a no-go zone for Palestinian fishermen. We resumed fishing and stayed for almost one hour, during which the current drifted a little nearer to the illuminated buoys. Suddenly, at around 9:00 am, I saw two Israeli gunboats approaching us again very quickly. I then turned on the boat’s engine and quickly steered towards the south. The two Israeli boats continued to pursue us and fire at us. When they were about two meters away from us, I heard an Israeli soldier insulting us using a loudspeaker. I heard the sound of shooting and I felt pain in my right elbow. I also heard both Emad El Deen and Ziyad screaming. Then the two Israeli boats left the area, heading to the north. We reached the fishing port and were taken to Al Shifa' Hospital in Gaza City by an ambulance.”
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights expresses its strong condemnation of the continuation of the Israeli closure of which the imposition of access restricted areas (ARA) is a policy. The violations by Israeli forces in the ARA lead to the arrest, killing and injury of civilians, particularly fishermen and farmers. The attacks deprive the population of access to basic, fundamental, and inalienable rights and amount to serious violations of international law, including the complete prohibition on torture and ill-treatment. Al Mezan warns of the consequences of the continued escalation of these practices in view of the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators for violations of international law.
Al Mezan reiterates its call on the international community to promptly intervene and to uphold its legal and moral obligations towards civilians in the occupied Palestinian territory; to respect its legal obligations under international law to provide protection for Palestinian civilians; and to pursue all suspects of grave breaches of international law.