Escalating its harassment of Palestinian fishermen, the Israeli forces arrested 11 fishermen and confiscated three fishing boats in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. Among the arrested fishermen was a 15-year-old minor. Palestinian fishermen working off Gaza’s coast are regular targets of these attacks, which center on arbitrary arrest and detention, use of live fire, and the confiscation and destruction of boats and equipment.
Al Mezan’s documentation shows that at 5 am on Monday, 12 March 2018, Israeli naval forces opened fire at three fishing boats that were sailing at six nautical miles from shore, near Rafah’s old port. The Israeli navy first circled the three boats, then arrested all 11 fishermen onboard: Adel Ibrahim Meqdad, 23, Mohammed Ibrahim Meqdad, 25, Alaa Ibrahim Meqdad, 21, (brothers); Mohammed Adel Meqdad, 33, Ibrahim Adel Meqdad, 23, (brothers); Mohammed Shaker Meqdad, 20, Mohammed Nemat Meqdad, 33, Ameen Saadi Jumaa, 24, Ahmed Ziad Al Bardawil, 15, Ahmed Mohammed Tabasi, 29, and Mohammed Farahat Ashour, 27. The fishermen are residents of Rafah City. The Israeli forces took the 11 men to an unknown detention center and confiscated their boats.
Since 2000, Al Mezan has documented 1,304 attacks on Palestinian fishermen, including 1,213 shooting incidents that led to the death of eight fishermen and to the injury of 134 fishermen. During these assaults 667 fishermen were arrested and 212 boats were confiscated. Al Mezan also documented 111 incidents involving Israeli forces’ destruction of fishing equipment, such as nets and flashlights.
Al Mezan condemns the Israeli forces’ practice of arbitrary arrest and detention of Palestinian fishermen, which results in a violation of their right to work and exposes them to ill-treatment.
Al Mezan calls for an end to the silence of the international community, whose lack of action has permitted the Israeli authorities to pursue these practices.
Al Mezan calls for the immediate release of the 11 detained fishermen and holds Israeli authorities responsible for their wellbeing. Al Mezan reiterates its call on the international community to honor its moral and legal obligations by: