Photo: Rosa Schiano, January 2012

The ongoing attack on Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza by Israeli occupation naval forces continued on Sunday, 3 December as they attaccked a fishing boat and seized five Palestinian fishers, confiscating the boat, said Zakaria Bakr, head of the union of fishers’ committees in Gaza.

The five detained fishers are Sami Abu al-Sadiq, Ahmad Abu al-Sadiq, Sayyid al-Halabi, Ayman Tolbeh and Ehab Tolbeh.  Their boat was also taken to the Israeli occupation port of Ashdod.

According to statistics from the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, two fishermen were killed, 10 fishermen had been wounded and at least 32 have been arrested by Israeli occupation forces since the beginning of 2017; 11 fishing boats were confiscated and fishers were fired upon over 142 times. 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.

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.

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. It is subject to a global campaign for boycott.