28 August 2023 |Reference 54/2023
Israeli naval forces continue perpetrating grave and systematic human rights violations against Palestinian fishermen sailing off the Gaza coast. Al Mezan regularly documents 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. Because of these practices, fishing off the Gaza coast has become a dangerous occupation with inherent risks to life and security. This morning, the Israeli navy arbitrarily arrested five Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza's northern district and confiscated two fishing boats.
At around 7:45 a.m. this morning, 28 August 2023, the Israeli navy opened fire and surrounded two fishing boats located two nautical miles off the coast of Beit Lahiya, North Gaza District. The boats were carrying five fishermen: Salim Jamal al-Numan, 46, Hassan Jamal al-Numan, 35, Mohammed Jamal al-Numan, 39, Wahid Sayyed Kaskin, 33, and Ahmed Saed al-Saidi, 39 —all residents of Gaza City. All fishermen were arbitrarily arrested, and their boats were confiscated.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that, since the beginning of 2023, the Israeli navy has carried out 200 attacks against Palestinian fishermen, injuring 15, arbitrarily arresting 28, and confiscating nine 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 calls for the immediate release of the five fishermen, as well as the return of the confiscated fishing boats. We also strongly condemn Israel’s continuous unwarranted and illegal practices against Palestinian fishermen, which are part of Israel’s unlawful closure policy that amounts to a prohibited collective punishment under international law and represents inhumane acts that constitute the crime of apartheid under the 1973 Apartheid Convention.
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