Palestinian fishers attacked by Israeli occupation navy off Gaza coast

Photo: Rosa Schiano, January 2012

Four Palestinian fishers in the sea off Gaza were fired upon, attacked and seized by Israeli occupation naval forces on the morning of Sunday, 15 October 2017, as occupation forces seized 15 Palestinians in night raids on villages, cities and camps in the West Bank.

The Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights noted that two fishermen were killed, 10 fishermen had been wounded and 28 had been arrested by Israeli occupation forces since the beginning of 2017; 10 fishing boats were confiscated and fishers were fired upon 142 times. The four seized on Sunday morning were fired upon by Israeli occupation naval forces who seized their boat as well as the four fishermen, forcing them to the port of Ashdod.

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.

In al-Khalil, five Palestinians were seized by occupation forces on Sunday, including former prisoner Mohammed Sulaibi, Abdel-Rahman Awad, Rashid Abu Hadid, Samer al-Dajani and Musab al-Suweiti, the son of the prisoner Mahmoud al-Suweiti. In addition,occupation forces seized four Palestinians in Qabatiya, near Jenin, including a child, Abdel-Qader Abu al-Rub, 17; Basil Abu Zaid, Hamza Abu al-Rub and Izzedine Abu al-Rub.

Occupation forces seized three Palestinians from the Ramallah area, Amer Atef Abu Alia, Ihab Osama Abu Alia and Mohammed Rashid al-Barghouthi, as well as Ibrahim Dweikat of Qalqilya and Uday al-Khumur from Bethlehem.