· Since the beginning of 2013, Israeli forces have arrested 13 fishermen and carried out 103 attacks.
· Al Mezan asserts that the right of Palestinian fishermen to access fish in Gaza’s territorial waters is a basic right.
· Al Mezan condemns the restrictions and attacks on fishermen and calls for international intervention to protect their rights.
According to Al Mezan’s monitoring and documentation since the beginning of 2013 and until publishing this press release, the Israeli occupying forces have arrested 13 fishermen, carried out 103 attacks on fishermen (injuring seven), confiscated five boats and six other pieces of fishing equipment, and damaged nets and fishing equipment in 21 incidents.
The Israeli forces continue their systematic violations of Palestinian fishermen’s rights in Gaza waters.
The occupation forces regularly open fire at fishermen, detain them, and confiscate their fishing boats, which prevents them from working.
According to Al Mezan’s field investigations, at approximately 2:00 am on Tuesday, August 13, 2013, Israeli gunboats opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat while it was six nautical miles away from the coast west of Wadi Gaza village.
The Israeli boats pursued the fishing boat to one nautical mile inside the permitted fishing zone.
When the Israeli boat got close - about one meter away from the Palestinian boat – the Israeli naval forces opened fire at the Palestinian boat.
As a result three fishermen were injured.
Al Mezan has identified them as follows: · Khader Merwan As- Sa’idi, 25, who sustained two rubber bullet wounds in the hand; · Mohammed Jamal Al Nu’man, 27, who sustained two rubber bullet wounds in the lower part of the abdomen and the upper part of the chest; and · Hasan Ali Murad, 27, who sustained a rubber bullet wound in the back.
They are residents of Al Shatee’ refugee camp, west of Gaza City.
The Israeli forces ordered the fishermen to take off their clothes and detained them and confiscated their boat.
At approximately 7:00 pm on the same day, the Israeli occupying forces released the fishermen at Erez crossing, but kept their boat in custody.
Families of the fishermen took them to Shifa hospital to receive medical treatment.
In a similar incident, on June 6, 2013, Israeli forces arrested fishermen, Khader Merwan As-Sa’idi and Hasan Ali Murad, and confiscated their boat.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights expresses its strong condemnation of Israel’s grave and systematic violations of the rights of Palestinian fishermen in their territorial waters – access two which is a basic right.
Al Mezan asserts that the Gaza Strip is part of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and the dual agreements between Israeli authorities and Palestinian bodies under regional and international sponsorship, including Oslo Accords, do not exempt the Israeli occupation forces from its obligations to implement IHL and IHRL standards as regards Palestinians in the oPt.
Al Mezan reiterates its previous calls on Israel to end violations against Palestinian fishermen and to lift the stringent access restrictions.