Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations demand that the occupation target Gaza fishermen be stopped

Palestinian and Israeli human rights associations called on Wednesday, the occupation authorities and his freedom to lift the siege imposed on hundreds of Palestinian fishermen in the 14-year-old besieged Gaza Strip, demanding that the occupation army target a number of Gaza Strip fishermen And open an investigation.

The Adalah Association, the Al-Mizan-Gaza Center, and the Gishta-Maslak Society sent an urgent message to the Israeli government's legal advisor and the military prosecutor, requesting that instructions be issued to immediately stop the abuse of Gaza fishermen and those looking for their livelihood, and to open an investigation into these events.

And the human rights associations said in a report: "The frequency of targeting Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip has increased in recent months, and there has been an escalation in shootings and violence by the Israeli navy against fishermen looking for their livelihood in fishing areas off the coast of Gaza," while those institutions confirmed These Israeli violations endanger the lives of Palestinian fishermen and cause extensive damage to boats and equipment.

And human rights organizations pointed out that all of this is taking place in light of the economic instability resulting from measures to protect against the Corona virus and the threat to food security for the people of the Gaza Strip.

The letter sent by human rights organizations includes forms of Israeli violence and targeting of Gaza Strip fishermen, including: “Violence used by the occupation army, imposing sea closures on normal days, indiscriminate gunfire, drowning boats with water, abusing fishermen, confiscating equipment and destroying property.”

In their message, human rights organizations emphasized that the recent violence comes against the backdrop of the slowdown stemming from the preventive steps to fight the outbreak of the Corona epidemic, and the threat to food security for the residents of the Strip, in addition to this period of the year is the season of sardines, meaning that it is an important period for fishermen’s profits compared to the rest of the year.

According to the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights - Gaza, 105 incidents of shooting by the navy on fishermen boats were recorded between January and April of this year, and 6 fishermen were wounded, and others were arrested, including a minor, as well. The Israeli navy caused extensive damage to the boats, many fishing gear was completely damaged, and one boat was detained.

The center pointed out that on May 8, 2020, for example, the fishermen reported that the occupation army shot two fishermen's boats, and a fisherman was hit with a rubber bullet in the head, and another was injured in his hand, and the engines in the boats were seriously injured as a result of live fire, and they are no longer usable Also, on the same day, the occupation army hit fishermen's boats with very high pressure water sprayers, and hit one of the fishermen.

In the letter also sent by human rights societies, lawyer Mona Haddad of the Gishta-Maslak Association emphasized that “the policy of using force that might kill fishermen and cause their property extensive and irreparable damage is illegal and disproportionate.”

Many fishermen report that the freedom of occupation uses violent means against them even while they are inside the permitted area for hunting, but nevertheless lawyer Haddad asserts that "in any case, sailing outside the permitted fishing area does not constitute a security risk, and does not justify the use of force to impose security restrictions" .

Haddad said: "The restrictions imposed by Israel on fishing off the beaches of Gaza, the changes it makes to instructions regarding the fishing area, and the ways in which those restrictions are applied, affect the livelihood of thousands of fishermen in Gaza, and one of the most important traditional occupations in the Gaza Strip."

Haddad added, "Restricting the fishing area is an example of Israeli control over the people of the Gaza Strip. This control holds Israel responsible, including allowing people to earn their livelihood with dignity, especially without endangering their lives and property, and without compromising their dignity and basic rights."

Zakaria Bakr, Chairman of the Fishermen Committee in the Federation of Agricultural Work Committees in Gaza, said, "The recent period has witnessed an increase in the number of cases in which the occupation army ordered the fishermen to undress, jump into the water, and swim toward the army boats."

Bakr added: "The occupation army requested that the fishermen swim to them naked, which does not only violate the dignity of the fishermen, but also endangers their lives without any justification. The army uses water sprinklers to fill the boats with water, which damages the electrical appliances and lighting in the boat."

Bakr stressed that "the violence practiced by the occupation army raises the concerns of many fishermen, and prevents them from leaving the sea. There is significant damage in this sector."


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