Mohammed Majid Bakr

Palestinian fisherman Mohammed Majid Bakr, 28, was killed by Israeli occupation naval forces this morning, Monday, 15 May as he fished in his family boat when it was attacked by naval forces besieging the Gaza Strip. He was shot in the chest and died hours later in the Israeli Barzillai hospital.

Mohammed Majid Bakr was a Palestinian refugee from the Shati refugee camp from a large fishing family in Gaza. Zakaria Bakr of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees said that he and his family members were targeted by naval forces of the Israeli siege as they fished. He was married and had two children, Quds News reported. Three other fishermen from the same family, Mohammed Tariq Bakr, 22, Abdullah Sabri Bakr, 20, and Mohammed Said Bakr, 27, were seized by occupation naval forces and taken to an unknown location, while their fishing boats were confiscated.

Israeli gunboats also attacked more fishers in the northern Gaza strip on Monday morning, 15 May, firing on fishing boats and the fishery of Amin Abu Warda, seizing three more Palestinian fishers, Mohammed Amin Abu Wardeh, Yousef Amin Abu Wardeh and Hussein Amin Abu Wardeh, all seized within three nautical miles from the Gaza shore.

Photo: Rosa Schiano, December 2011

The killing of Mohammed Majid Bakr, Palestinian fisherman targeted for his work to support his family and Palestinian fishery and agriculture, is the latest example of the targeting of Palestinian fishermen in Gaza for arrest, boat seizure and death. Since the beginning of 2017, five fishing boats were confiscated, 14 fishermen seized by occupation forces, four injured and one more fisherman killed, Muhammed al-Hissi. Al-Hissi, 33, was killed on 7 January after his boat was deliberately sunk by Israeli occupation forces.

These attacks on Palestinian fishery are part of a comprehensive physical, military and economic war against the entire Palestinian people and their ability to sustain their economy and independent, indigenous agriculture and fishery. Coming as the killing of Bakr – a Palestinian refugee from birth, targeted once more – does on the anniversary of al-Nakba, it highlights the ongoing Zionist project of the targeting and confiscation of Palestinian resources in an attempt to drive out the indigenous people and make their livelihood impossible.

Gaza has been under Israeli occupation since 1967, and under a tight and brutal siege since 2006, denying people and goods access and movement from the small coastal strip, one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Over 70% of the people of Gaza are refugees who have lived in Gaza since the 1948 Nakba – the occupation and ethnic cleansing of most of Palestine. The naval closure imposed on Gaza and the cordoning off of the fishing zone has created massive poverty in Gaza’s once-wealthy fishing industry, upon which 70,000 Palestinians rely. Boats are rarely returned to their Palestinian owners after being confiscated by the occupation navy. Palestinian fishermen have repeatedly been shot by gunboats, causing death and serious and sometimes life-altering injuries, and further contributing to economic and social devastation.

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network mourns and salutes Mohammed Majid Bakr, Palestinian fisherman working to sustain his family and his people, and targeted for his continued existence on his land and sea on the 69th anniversary of the continuing Nakba. We demand the immediate release of all detained Palestinian fishermen and an immediate end to the ten years of Israeli siege on Gaza.  We also highlight that HP, the same corporation that sells database services to the Israeli prison system and the military occupation checkpoint network, also administers the IT system of the Israeli Navy that enforces the naval blockade of Gaza and that today took the life of Mohammed Majid Bakr. We urge the escalation of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel and complicit corporations like Hewlett-Packard that profit from the violation of Palestinian rights.