Date: 29 November 2022
Israeli naval forces arbitrarily arrest six fishermen in Palestinian territorial waters, injure two, and confiscate two fishing boats
Israeli naval forces continue perpetrating grave and systematic human rights violations against Palestinian fishermen sailing off the Gaza coast. Al Mezan periodically records Israel’s harassment of Gaza fishermen in Palestinian territorial waters, including the recurrent attacks, arbitrary arrests, seizure of fishing boats and equipment, and the use of live ammunition against them. These practices have rendered fishing off the Gaza coast a dangerous occupation with inherent risk to life and security. In the most recent incident, the Israeli navy arrested six fishermen and confiscated two fishing boat off the coast of Rafah City.
According to Al Mezan’s field investigation, at approximately 11 pm on Sunday, 27 November 2022, the Israeli navy opened fire and surrounded two fishing boats located off the coast of Rafah City, Gaza’s southern district. The boats were carrying six fishermen: Ahmed Meqdad, 34, Tayseer Bakr, 32, Mahmoud Bakr, 35, Jawad Abu Ghanem, 53, Mahmoud Abu Ghanem, 37, and Rami Bakr, 44—all residents of Gaza City. All six fishermen were arbitrarily arrested, two of them—Mahmoud and Tayseer—sustained injuries from rubber-coated metal bullets, and both their boats were confiscated by Israeli authorities. All fishermen were released the following day.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that since the beginning of 2022, the Israeli navy has carried out 441 attacks against Palestinian fishermen, injuring 23 (including three children), arbitrarily arresting 64 (including eight children), and confiscating 23 fishing boats. It must also be noted that Israeli authorities still ban the entry of necessary fishing materials and equipment to the Strip as part of their settler-colonial closure against Gaza.
Al Mezan strongly condemns Israel’s continuous unwarranted and illegal practices against Palestinian fishermen. These attacks are not only part of Israel’s unlawful closure policy that amounts to a prohibited collective punishment under international law, but also represents inhumane acts that constitute the crime of apartheid under the 1973 Apartheid Convention.
Al Mezan also reiterates its calls on the international community—including the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Geneva Conventions—to uphold their obligations vis-a-vis the protected Palestinian people and pressure Israel to end its closure on the Gaza Strip and stop its systematic violations against the civilian population, including fishermen.