In the morning hours of Sunday, 30 April 2017, Israeli occupation forces arrested two Palestinian fishermen and confiscated their boat. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns Israel’s grave and systematic violations against fishermen, especially as they come in the context of collective punishment, harm their right to life and work, jeopardize their physical safety, and attack their dignity.
According to Al Mezan’s field investigations, at approximately 6:30 am on Sunday, 30 April 2017, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats about 2.5 nautical miles off the Gaza coast near Al Waha, northwest of Beit Lahiya, in the north of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli boats surrounded the Palestinian fishing boat and arrested Sha’ban Adnan Abu Riyala, 36, and Mohammed Adnan Abu Riyala, 22, who were onboard. The Israeli forces then confiscated the boat.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that between the start of 2017 and 30 April, Israeli forces have attacked Gaza’s fishermen in 54 incidents, killing one, injuring five, arresting 14 and confiscating five boats. In two of these incidents, Israeli forces destroyed fishing nets and equipment. In all 54 incidents, Israeli forces fired bullets at Palestinian fishermen and their boats.
Al Mezan calls on the Israeli authorities to immediately release the detainees, and reiterates its condemnation of Israel’s continued arbitrary detention of fishermen and broader violations that clearly follow a systematic policy with the aim to restrict their right to work and deliberately inflict daily humiliation and harassment.
Al Mezan asserts that the right of Palestinian fishermen to freely exercise their work in the Gaza sea is a fundamental human right. Israel’s continuous attacks are considered grave violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL).
In this light, Al Mezan again reiterates its call to the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to uphold their moral and legal obligations to take effective measures to protect Palestinian fishermen, and to exert pressure on Israel to respect the basic principles of IHL and IHRL.