Israeli Authorities Arrest Two Fishermen and Confiscate their Boat and Fishing Equipment West of Beit Lahia
Despite Israel's 3 April 2016 announcement of the extension to nine nautical miles of Gaza´s fishing zone, the Israeli forces escalated attacks against the Palestinian fishermen. Israeli forces continue to escalate unlawful practices that harm Palestinian fishermen and deprive them of their livelihoods by destroying boats and confiscating equipment.
According to Al Mezan’s monitoring, at approximately 7:40 AM on Sunday, 24 April 2016, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the area of Al Waha, west of Beit Lahia town, and arrested two fishermen: Ibrahim Ghalib Al Sultan, 23 and Oranus Sharif Al Sultan, 19. Their boat and fishing equipment were confiscated.
Oranus' father Sharif Al Sultan told Al Mezan that he was working on his small fishing boat with his brother-in-law Mohamed Al Sultan, while his son Oranus worked on a rowboat with Ibrahim Al Sultan. The fishermen casted their nets within the permitted fishing zone (about 600 meters southeast of the demarcation buoy set up by the Israeli forces) and other fishing boats were also present in the same area. Suddenly, Israeli gunboats started to approach and fire at them. Two rubber military boats surrounded the rowboat that was carrying Ibrahim and Oranus. The soldiers ordered the fishermen to undress and swim to one of the rubber boats. Then, the soldiers tied the rowboat, which was also carrying fishing nets, and towed it westward where a large Israeli Navy boat could be seen. The incident drove other fishermen in the area to flee in fear for their lives.
Al Mezan reiterates its condemnation of the ongoing Israeli violations against Palestinian fishermen. Al Mezan stresses that a fisherman’s right to work is an inherent human right, and that the Israeli authorities are committing systematic violations of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law by repeatedly and systemically targeting fishermen, often resulting in death, injury, and arbitrary arrest in a degrading manner, as well as depriving fishermen of their livelihoods and right to work.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to intervene to protect civilians and put an end to Israeli violations against them, and to bring to an end the closure/blockade of the Gaza Strip, which constitutes an ongoing affront to international law and produces serious violations of the human rights of the entire population of the Gaza Strip since 2007.