In two separate incidents on Monday and Tuesday morning, 8-9 January 2018, Israeli naval forces detained eight Palestinian fishermen and confiscated three fishing boats. This treatment forms part of Israel’s perpetual harassment of Palestinian fishermen, which hinders their ability to sustain their livelihoods and enjoy natural resources from Palestinian territorial waters.
Al Mezan’s monitoring and documentation shows that at around 9am on 9 January 2018, Israeli naval boats fired at two engine-operated boats that were sailing at a distance of five nautical miles from shore, west of the Al Sudania area in North Gaza, and one nautical mile from the northern boundary. Israeli forces circled the two boats and detained six fishermen, including two children, who were onboard: Ahmed Al Sa’eedi, 45, Momen Al Noman, 25, Mohammed Al Sa’eedi, 10, Mohammed Abu Jayyab, 23, Akram Abu Fool, 34, and Mohammed Abu Fool, 11, who are all residents of the Shati (Beach) refugee camp in western Gaza City. Israeli forces took the fishermen to an unknown location and confiscated their two boats and their fishing equipment. Afraid, the surrounding fishermen returned to shore without finishing their work.
In the previous incident, at around 12pm on Monday, 8 January 2018, Israeli naval forces circled an engine-operated boat owned by fisherman Mohammed Al Najjar. The boat was at a distance of three nautical miles from the beach of Beit Lahia in North Gaza and close to the northern boundary when Israeli forces detained the two fishermen onboard: Jehad Morad, 25, and Mustafa Morad, 18, who are both residents of the Shati refugee camp. The Israeli navy also confiscated the boat. Both fishermen were released at around 9:30pm the same day.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that in 2017 Israeli forces killed two fishermen, detained 39 fishermen, confiscated 13 fishing boats, and destroyed other boats and fishing tools in seven separate incidents. A third fishermen is missing and presumed dead by his family after an Israeli boat collided with the fishing boat.
The arrest of eight fishermen within 24 hours represents a rise in the harassment of Palestinian fishermen, who are subjected to humiliating arrest procedures that include stripping their clothes and abuse. These systematic attacks, which often involve injury to the fishermen, constitute flagrant violations of international humanitarian law vis-à-vis a protected population on occupied territory and international human rights law, in particular regarding the right to livelihood and the prohibition on arbitrary arrest and detention.
Al Mezan calls for the following: