18 Palestinian fishers seized by Israeli forces in 2013

The Palestine Center for Prisoners Studies reported on November 10 that Israeli warships kidnapped two Palestinian fishers from Gaza, brothers Saddam Abu Warda, 23, and Mahmoud Abu Warda, 21, to Ashdod port for interrogation. The two were the latest of 18 fishers kidnapped off the coast of Gaza by Israeli warships in 2013.

This is part of the ongoing harassment and persecution of Palestinian fishers in Gaza, said the center, noting that they approached the imaginary fishing border of six nautical miles imposed by the occupation on Palestinian fishers. Numerous fisherss have been injured and boats destroyed by attacks by massive Israeli warships on fishing boats. Fishers are interrogated harshly at Ashdod and are often subject to pressure to work as collaborators with the occupation.

Most are released within hours or days, after extended interrogation and following, in many cases, the loss or damage of their fishing boats. Over 110 assaults on fishers have been carried out during the year, from firing on fishing boats, forcing fishers to undress or jump into the sea despite harsh weather conditions, arrests, and confiscation and destruction of their fishing boats.

The Center said that the ongoing attacks on fishers are part of a deliberate and systematic policy of blockade on Gaza, urging real international action to protect the Palestinian fishers of Gaza from attacks by occupation forces.